View Full Version : Today is a lucky day-Check this out!

Air Randy
01-10-2009, 06:44 PM
So, I'm out setting the vales again for the 3rd time and tweaking the timing to get the 40 dialed in. Periodically I go out and drive around the block to keep the motor warmed up, check to see how it's running, etc. As I'm going around the block I notice the neighbor lady who lives behind me sort of giving me the eye as I go past in the 40. I thought she was just curious because the 40 is a new vehicle in the neighborhoo.

So I get done for the day and come in to check the site. I'm reading Ricardo's story about getting help at the junkyard when there is a knock on my front door. Its the neighbor lady. She says "I saw you driving around in that old Land Cruiser you fixed, do you want another one?" Turns out she has a 1978 FJ55, totally stock that she gave to me for free. I went and looked at it, it appears to be complete, front disk brakes, etc. Lower sections of the body are rusted, doors don't look too bad. Headliners is hanging in tatters. She claims it was running when they parked it 8 years ago. Apparently it belonged to her son and he died (unknown circumstances).

So, anyone want to come down and see if we can get this puppy running tomorrow? She said she doesn't have a title for it so it may just be a parts queen.

01-10-2009, 07:52 PM
wow. What a fun score!! :bowdown:

01-10-2009, 09:09 PM
That is too cool, Nakman had to buy a house to get his free Scout. Perhaps I should head your way tomorrow, give you a hand. You could take my 40 for a spin to see what an old, tired 40 runs like.

01-10-2009, 10:43 PM
You sir, have straight up Cruiser luck!

It was cool to meet you at teh meeting and hear about your adventures!

You should get her running, Pigs are extra special, and '78's are special Pigs!!!

If you do part it, I would ask for the hubs. But get her running and fix her/keep her...

01-10-2009, 11:29 PM
applying for a lost title is not that hard. Just a little extra work.

Shark Bait
01-11-2009, 12:02 AM
Way to go, Randy! I figured you'd get it. :thumb:

Air Randy
01-11-2009, 09:47 AM
You sir, have straight up Cruiser luck!

It was cool to meet you at teh meeting and hear about your adventures!

You should get her running, Pigs are extra special, and '78's are special Pigs!!!

If you do part it, I would ask for the hubs. But get her running and fix her/keep her...

Are those fine or coarse spline you need? I have a set of Warn coarse spline hubs that look like new you can have.

01-11-2009, 11:20 AM
awesome, keep her on the road if you can. She can get a duplicate title easily.

01-11-2009, 12:51 PM
Nice find Randy, I need to go out there again and see if somebody wants to get rid of anything else.

Air Randy
01-11-2009, 07:14 PM
Ricardo came over today and helped me drag it home. Turns out the PO not only didnt have a title for it but no keys either. But, where there is a will there is a way.

We took the battery out of the 40 and stuck it in the pig. I added 1/2 gallon of AF to the radiator and we checked the oil (dirty but full). I resurrected some of my skills honed as a hoodlum growing up on the streets of Chicago and hot wired the ignition. We gave it a spritz of starting fuild and amazingly it fired right up after sitting for 10 years!

I dumped 5 gallons of gas in her, we shot it with ether again and after keeping it running for 60 seconds or so with the ether it caught on the gas and ran on its own. It sounds great! Runs really smooth, no blue smoke, valves sound like they're adjusted right and almost everything in the cab (lights, blinkers, fan motors, heater, wipers) works except the radio.

We actually drove it around the neighborhood. The power brakes work great, tranny & tc feels real tight, and the manual steering doesn't seem to have any slop in it.

I did kill the engine once by closing the manual choke all the way after it was warmed up. When I cranked it again I noticed CLOUDS of white smoke coming out of the tailpipe as long as I cranked it with the choke closed. Once I opened the choke again and cranked it, it started right up and the smoke immediately cleared. I'm thinking I've got a bad head gasket that has rusted through from sitting for 10 years and it sucks in coolant under the right conditions.

Other than that, a headliner thats in tatters and a fair amount of body rust, this thing may be driveable. Oh yeah, Ricardo was all gaga over the fact it has the original yellow factory jack kit, handles and the engine crank with it. Is that important to have?

01-11-2009, 07:22 PM

01-11-2009, 09:26 PM
What a great find. That is incredible that she will still run...

01-11-2009, 09:30 PM
dang, wish I could have joined you. I was tiling my kitchen...again...for 10 hours. Great job!!

01-11-2009, 09:57 PM
Nice score. What you gonna do with it? Resto? part it out? build something big? drive it rusty? Give it to a fellow member?

01-11-2009, 11:02 PM
Oh yeah, Ricardo was all gaga over the fact it has the original yellow factory jack kit, handles and the engine crank with it. Is that important to have?


PO's do weird things to their Pigs.

The more original you find one the better.

Like I said before, Pigs are special, and a '78 is even more so...

01-11-2009, 11:18 PM
Right on! :thumb: :thumb:

Title that pig and wheel it! Maybe we should organize the first official "Rising Sun - Old Rusty Iron Run" for 2009. ;) :hill: :cool:

01-12-2009, 01:52 AM
Great story. Really cool that it ran so good after sitting for a decade!

01-12-2009, 09:09 AM
Sounds like the story of the 40 that Ben got from Treeroot - that was funny!

Land Cruisers are hard to kill, as you have now found. And don't worry about keeping the jack and other bits, I'll gladly take them off your hands :p:

Air Randy
01-12-2009, 10:01 AM
I checked the VIN plate last night and it says it is a 1976. Apparently the owners manual in the glove box for a 1978 came from another vehicle.

Based on what I know today here is a list of what I think it needs in order to license it and drive it on the street:

1-Replace the head gasket, flush cooling system & change all oil/lube. I'll run a compression check on it too pretty soon but it idled and ran great. I also need to get the oil pressure gauge working but if it didn't have decent OP we would have seen a sign of that after running it for over an hour.

2-Replace the windshield, pretty good star break right in the drivers vision

3-Install a new battery, everything else electrical pretty much worked except the radio. Ammeter showed a good charge

4-Looks like the PO pulled the motor out of the tailgate that raises and lowers the rear window. The window is propped up with a spray paint can with about a 2" gap at the top. I'll need to sort that out.

5-The seats are in pretty good shape as far as being intact and all the foam is in place. The covering is toast though and it has seat covers on it. The headliner is hanging in tatters and is a total write off. The interior panels in the rear section are in pretty bad shape probably because moisture was coming in the 2" gap in the rear window.

At this point I'm really not sure what to do with it. I don't think I can afford to have 2 play toy vehicle. Right now I think I will either sell it as-is and use the money to keep the build going on the 40, or pull the engine/tran/tc and part out the rest.

I was really impressed with the 2F that John from Coyote Cruisers had in his 40 on the snow run. I would be tempted to give this drivetrain to him and say "build me one just like yours".

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to what this thing is worth as-is without a title (I can get a bill of sale)?

01-12-2009, 10:02 AM
I went over to Randy's yesterday so that we could take a drive in each others FJ40 and retrieve the FJ55 his neighbor gave to him. As a cruiser owner that picked up his first 40 in August, Randy has been busy. His efforts have really paid off. Driving his 40 was a real treat.

After the test drive of Randy's FJ40 we loaded up the air compressor and a strap and headed to the neighbors. A quick knock on the door to let them know we were there and the "recovery" operation was on. You never really know what you are in for when you show up to grab a rig that has been sitting. This was my third type operation; Walsenberg FJ55, Pine Junction FJ40 and Franktown Fj55. Come to think of it all three involved colder temperatures. Today's operation was really the smoothest and easiest of all of them.

These recovery stories feel like they should have drama filled with heroic feats involving innovative solutions to overcome significant obstables. In this case, it was not really very dramatic. The toughest two hurdles we had were finding an outlet for the air compressor and there was no key for the ignition. Randy solved the first issue with a quick trip around to the back deck. We filled all four tires with air. It was cool to see them rise up from the small indentations they had settled in. You can see in this picture of a tire how far down they had deflated and settled into the ground.

By our best estimates from the smog sticker, this FJ55 last rolled on the road 10 years ago. With the tires full and the strap hooked up, we did a quick test of the brakes and were on our way. On the way back we put the truck in 3rd to see if the engine would turn. It turned very smoothly. The tow back to Randy's was uneventfull and smooth. Here is the FJ55 on the back side of the garage.

As I said above, Randy has a trail ready 40 ready to go. We used his winch to pull the FJ55 right up next to the garage. The warn 8274 performed flawlessly. This is what it looked like from inside the FJ55 as it was put into place.

We set about to taking a quick look over the truck and asside from one spark plug wire being broken, everything else seemed to be in place as it should be. There was a full compliment of spark plug wires sitting on the rear floor of the back seat so we took the best looking one and put it in place. The engine looked real nice.

Of course we had come this far with so few issues, we had to see if we could get it started. So we began the process of searching for reasons it might not be a good idea. A check of the radiator found it a bit low, so we added some anti-freeze. The oil was old and black, but not good enough. The battery was dead, so we put the charger on it. It would not charge, so we swapped it out. As with all wrenching sessions on these old rigs, they are not complete until you break a bolt. Fortunately our only broken bolt was on the battery cable connection.

With power, we turned on the lights and found we had electricity flowing through the system. Next we set about to dealing with the no key issue. A little time in the garage and Randy had put together a wiring harness to plug into the ignition harness and bypass the ignition cylinder. We tested for spark and found we were good. We removed the air cleaner and found the air filter was in like new condition and there were no signs of nesting rodents inside. We put in a few gallons of fresh fuel. Next was a few shots of ether down the carb intake and the engine fired up. Amazing, after sitting that long the engine was running. The throttle cable linkage was sticking a bit so it was reving up and down at idle. Once we manually pushed the linkage to idle, it idles smooth though a bit high. A little adjustment of the idle screw and it we heard the smoth F engine tap just like a sewing machine. This is a video of the engine before we got the idle smooth.
http://www.supermotors.net/getfile/701743/thumbnail/stuck_throttle.mov (http://www.supermotors.net/registry/media/701743)

As Randy indicated we managed to kill it while working to loosen up the throttle linkage but in short order we had it running again. Randy give the drive train a quick test in reverse and forward and checked the brakes. All was good, so we hopped in for a short ride. We put it in 4 wheel drive and it worked well. Here is a URL to a video of the first run, you can hear us giggling a bit.
http://www.supermotors.net/getfile/701744/thumbnail/first_drive.mov (http://www.supermotors.net/registry/media/701744)

The body panels on this FJ55 are rough and rusted, but the rest of the truck is in real good shape. I was tickled to see it has the orignal bottle jack and crank arm for the engine. It does appear to have a head gasket issue because it does spew white smoke when starting, but after the smoke clears it runs clear out the exhaust. Randy, thanks again for having me over and giving me a chance to learn some more. Here is one final shot of the Land Cruisers.

Uncle Ben
01-12-2009, 01:15 PM
Best part of winter derelict vehicle moving is you don't get multiple hornet and wasp stings!

01-12-2009, 03:25 PM
That's quite a story. I have dreams about situations like this sometimes, but usually it involves an old lady taking me to a barn and finding a rare exotic sportscar worth millions.

01-12-2009, 03:34 PM
it involves an old lady taking me to a barn

Talk about a family site. :hill:

01-12-2009, 03:36 PM
Talk about a family site. :hill:


01-12-2009, 05:44 PM
I've got a case of Isolation Ale to trade.

01-12-2009, 09:35 PM
if you are thinking of selling lmk I may be able to talk Sharon into it:D

01-13-2009, 11:41 PM
Oh man, a stock '76 Pig that may be for sale!

Don't replace the windshield w/o doing the headliner...