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Old 12-18-2014, 03:22 PM
steamboat steamboat is offline
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Default New FJ owner

Hello,
New member here. I have acquired a 1970 FJ40( I think the build date is 10\1969). It has small block Chevy(runs strong) conversion where the firewall was cutout to fit(they did do a good job on new sheet metal\engine mounts) not ideal but it is what it is. I will post pictures in a few days. It has original drums all around, not holding pressure, leaking etc. There is a ton of information out there on disk brake conversions and was hoping for a little feedback and input on my options. I plan to use the vehicle for light off roading\camping and just a fun around town driving. I open to just rebuilding the drums also. I will not be doing the all brake work myself but have a mechanic friend who will be helping out.
Some of my questions are:
What is the likelihood and $$ of obtaining a front axle from a later model fj w discs and swapping?
Or would I be better off just going with a front disc brake conversion kit from man a fre or another vendor?
Would just rebuilding the existing drum suffice and be a lot cheaper?

I am open to all possibilities within reason. Thanks in advance for any input or suggestions.

Robert
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Old 12-18-2014, 03:33 PM
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subzali subzali is offline
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First off, welcome to the forum!

Do some research on the prices for drum rebuild kits (Cruiser Outfitters, coolcruisers.com, etc.) vs. what you can find disc brake components for (craigslist or Merl at Classic Cruisers in Salida). In my recollection it's almost as expensive to rebuild the drums as it is to replace with discs. The drums can be made to work fine on rigs with stock sized tires (29"-31") and other components, but they are not self-adjusting so can be kind of a pain.

When you say it doesn't hold pressure and is leaking, where is it leaking from? Brake lines or wheel cylinders, or elsewhere?

My recommendation would be to replace with the outer birfield and steering components from an FJ60; that way you keep your axle housing but have stronger, more available components on the outside.

The drawback of trying to swap in a disc brake FJ40 axle into your rig is that disc brakes started in 1976 but with an oddball length birfield that was only used from 1976-1978. In 1979 the birfield was shortened slightly, but late model FJ40s (1979-1983) are a little less common, so finding an entire axle to swap may be difficult, plus there were some slight changes in brake line routing and drive flanges that you would have to account for. The 1979 through 1987 or so birfields/discs/calipers/steering knuckles are all interchangeable from FJ40s and FJ60s and from minitrucks and 4runners through 1985, so there is an advantage of running that setup, but again my recommendation would be to swap those components onto your existing axle housing. On the other hand, if your brake lines are rusted and need to be replaced anyway then finding an entire axle to swap might not be a big deal.

See Ricardo's thread on the swap here:
http://risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/s...hlight=knuckle
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Old 12-18-2014, 05:13 PM
steamboat steamboat is offline
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Thanks for taking the time to reply. It's leaking from the wheel cylinders. Brake lines are good and the master cylinder looks like it has been replaced recently. I will give Classic Cruisers a call. It has 31x10.50 on it now, shackle reversal w old man emu springs\shocks\shackles.
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Old 12-18-2014, 05:49 PM
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Do a mini-truck or FJ-60/62 disc swap. (I'm cutting to the chase)

It's definitely cheaper than rebuilding the drums, and better too. Get the birfs that came in the mini/60 and you're good to go. If you do this, and need to borrow the FST to center the knuckles, I've got one you can borrow. The whole swap takes a day, maybe 2 if you work slow.

That said, the late model 40 whole axle swap would be even easier, if you had the same gear ratio as the one you swapped in. They are out there (I've got one that one of these days I need to sell), just have to be patient to find one.

Dan
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Old 12-18-2014, 05:49 PM
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Subzali did a good job of covering the subject. Your definitely want to have the rig stop reliably. Rebuilding the cylinders is pretty straight forward, provided you can source the parts - and this will be the least cost option.

In my situation, I could not find the parts and replacement cylinders were expensive as my cylinders were not used for a large window of time and therefore rare. In retrospect, I could have stayed with drums by not getting the exact replacement cylinders, but would have needed to change some brake line fittings. I believe this would have been a tad less money than converting to disc.

All that said, I never regretted making the move to disc brakes up front and later disc brakes in the rear as well. In addition to my thread here, there is a thread on MUD (1973Guppie) that has great information on making the swap using everything from the knuckles out of a mini or 60 series.

I would recommend "rolling your own" versus getting a kit. While a kit may be plug and play, it is nice to be very intimate with the process and parts. Rolling your own uses standard parts that are readily available and more likely to be in the trails spares stash when you are out on a run with a Toyota group.

The experience of doing the conversion built my confidence in working on my own rig and helping others with working on their rigs.
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Old 12-18-2014, 06:29 PM
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Just to add another opinion; on my old '73 FJ40, I replaced all of the wheel cylinders and shoes with OEM replacements. They were easy to source (one stop at the Toyota parts counter), not too expensive (Rising Sun discount) and worked great (even with my 34" tires). It was an afternoon project. I'm sure the disks would have been better, but I never had issue with my setup once it was dialed in.
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:37 AM
steamboat steamboat is offline
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Thanks for input everyone, I will keep you posted and the direction I go.
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Old 12-19-2014, 01:06 PM
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One other thing to think about is that if you start to look at rebuilding the existing cylinders, you should probably pull them first. The cylinders on my '73 were mostly rusted / pitted / frozen up and I ended up having to buy replacements.

I don't mind the drums, but when it comes time to replace the shoes, I'll probably just make the switch to discs.
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Old 12-19-2014, 06:14 PM
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If you buy from merl at classic cruisers it will be cheaper to buy a new 200 series
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:52 PM
steamboat steamboat is offline
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I appreciate all the feedback. After seriously looking costs, time available(mine), vehicle use etc. I’ve decided to go with a kit from CCOT that replaces all the wheel cylinders, shoes, springs and master cylinder as well as rebuild the front axle. I’m sure I could do it cheaper but I like idea of replacing everything at the time. My question now is there anything else I should be doing ( “while you’re in there”) in conjunction with what is mentioned above. The vehicle had been sitting for an extended period of time.

Thanks,

Robert

http://coolfj40.stores.yahoo.net/brakkitforco.html

http://coolfj40.stores.yahoo.net/axelrebuildkit.html
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