1976 FJ40 and parts For Sale (sadly)
It's been a while since I took a trip up red cone with a couple of you (that would have been about 1999?) and right after Rob Meredith helped me redo some metal work around the shifter on the floor of my FJ40 that had been hacked out by the previous owner.
Some of you may remember me from the LCML as Greg Kneser - I got married and we combined our last names to Knaddison.
Some of you may be running a Land Cruiser screen saver from my old website which I made quite a long time ago and which needs to be updated!
Enough time has passed that it's clear to me that I'm not enjoying my cruiser to the extent that it deserves, so I'm looking to sell it along to someone else who will enjoy it much more than I do.
Here's the story as best I remember it:
1976 FJ40 that I bought in the summer of 1998
Previous owner installed a Chevy 350 using an adapter plate that left the engine very close to the firewall requiring some firewall reshaping on the passenger side and it uses center dump exhaust manifolds. Mark at Comprehensive Car Care has done some work on this truck including a new clutch not too long after I bought it. When he did that, he found a serial number on the engine which points to it being from a Corvette or a Monte Carlo. It has a massive radiator to compensate for how far back the engine. It came to me with a flex fan and shroud. After a few years of it sitting near 210 degrees and some advice on the LCML that that might be a little hot, I added a remote oil filter kit on my way towards an oil cooler. Half way there I got the advice to add an electric black magic fan as an easier and more likely to work solution and sure enough it worked fine. So, if you really like the idea of an oil cooler it's read to have that plumbed in line. I keep an oil filter in a zip lock under the seat as a backup for the remote filter system having a problem and so far that threat has kept the system working
This engine originally had an HEI distributor on it, but due to the arrangement near the firewall the previous owner removed that for a smaller standard distributor. I found an aftermarket HEI distributor that had a fairly small body and then used a Jacobs external coil to provide the spark. It made a noticeable change in smooth revving up to higher RPMs and a small but noticeable (at the time) change in power. The truth is the thing had plenty of power as it was but my youthful desire for more horsepower overcame the wisdom I would have used now that if it ain't broke...
With a little help, I added an OME lift kit and Man-A-Fre greasable shackles with zerk fittings. There are now something like 24 different points to grease on the truck! On the trip up red cone there were a couple of FJ40s - one with re-arch springs and a locker. I made it through the whole trip with an open differential and the guy with the re-arch springs commented on the way that my springs just flexed and the tires stayed in contact with the ground while he had to lock up his ARB diff due to the stiff springs. Mark from Comprehensive has had it up on the hoist after I did the OME switch (he also has re-arches or add-a-leafs, I forget which) and commented on the quality of the springs. He said as he was raising it he just kept waiting for the tires to pop off the ground and it took a lot longer than he expected. At the time the OME was seens as the cream of the cream, but pricey - I'm not sure if it's been outdone by some other manufacturer these days.
I also added some military surplus 3 point harnesses. The 1976 came with a full roll cage that has a mount point at the top of a 3 point harness so this was fairly easy. These were the military surpluses that a LCML member from Alaska was selling back in 1998 or so.
It has a hard top though the fiberglass is cracked. I use that in the winter but much prefer driving it in the summer with the bikini top. I knew it was time to sell the truck when I didn't put the bikini top on this summer...
I have driven this truck from Denver to Philadelphia round trip 3 times. On the second trip the transfer case gave out and I had to get it replaced in Illinois - lucky for me they found a replacement in a nearby parts yard. It seems I had the age old problem of the seal between the transmissiong/tcase being bad and the fluids got pumped into the transmission and the transfer case was running low. They fixed the seal at the same time.
Since that replacement it has been on another Denver-Philadelphia round trip and, most importantly, a friend and I drove it from Denver to California, across the Rubicon in the 2000 Rubithon and then back home. Those were some of the happiest times for me with this truck.
The body has not been cut up other than
-the bang in the firewall for the exhaust manifold
-a bigger hole around the transmission (who knows why) that I then riveted a piece of metal to so that the hole would be smaller and let in less road noise
-a spot of rust on the driver rear wheel-well where the rear jump seats rest where I added some foam and a metal plate to attach the jump seat
The body has some rust:
-underneath the doors in the back (no surprise there I'm sure)
-in a few random spots like the fenders underneath the turn signals
-underneath the doors
I got this car as I graduated from high school and went off to college in Philadelphia and it was registered in my parents name at their home in Eagle County where there was no smog restriction. Since then I've slowly taken it in to be smogged/inspected here in Denver and even though the emissions were fine it didn't pass because it lacked a pump that pulls from the exhaust and sticks some exhaust back in the intake (that's my understanding - though I was so upset at being dinged on the technicality that I wasn't paying close attention). I had Jim from JK Automotive add in the air pump and do the necessary plumbing to get the truck to pass emissions which it did this past year. So, it's legal for all of Colorado now.
So, as you can tell from a couple things I've mentioned this truck is in good shape but also needs some help.
If I kept it, I would probably add in power steering as my first project. It made it through the Rubicon without, but man were my arms tired! Beyond that, the only tough decision is really if it should be restored and have the few problems fixed, or just to cut off the rust, paint the bare metal, call it good and drive it on some trails!
Anyway - that's where I'm at. I bought it for $5000. You all know the prices of the changes and fixes that I've made so I won't list them out.
I'm currently looking for a new home or suggestions on where to find one. I've thought about selling it to somewhere like Toys 'R' Us in Salida or Proffits since it does need a little love. If there's an individual who is willing to take on a truck that is in great running, trail-ready shape but also recognizes the reality of an old car as a project as much as transportation then this is your truck. It was my daily driver for a while going 5 miles to work. I definitely wouldn't want it to be a daily driver much further than that.
If folks want to see some pictures I can certainly scan some and take a few current digitals.
Also, I have a basement full of random parts related to the years of fun. I'd prefer to sell those along with it, but would also consider parting them out individually if the new buyer isn't interested in them.
Cheers to all,
Greg (Kneser) Knaddison