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New here, *1971* FJ45 LWB Build

Craiglord

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Jun 9, 2020
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botswana
Hello everyone

My name is Craig, I'm new here and I have recently been fortunate enough to be able to purchase my 1971 (I think) FJ45 Land Cruiser which I have been chasing for more than a year. The cruiser is running the 2F engine with the 4 speed transmission and has barely been run in with 29122km on the clock (the odometer seems to be working fine so I'm hoping that those are original kilometers). This has been a long time goal for me and I'm over the moon that my cruiser finally found me

*The chassis # is FJ4594537, if someone can provide a more accurate estimate on the year of production I will be very grateful, I may be way off. The regisration papers I have say that the year of maunfacture was 1985 but they are notorious for making mistakes as the details would have been filled out by the importer. The chassis # also doesnt seem to match those made in the 80s....

The vehicle was bought in South Africa and from what I can work out from the chassis # it would probably have been among the first batches that were imported into South Africa at the time. I dont have any more info on its life in South Africa but it was likely used on a farm as were most cruisers. It was then imported into Botswana in December of 1996 where it was put to use on a game reserve in the Tuli Block as a safari/game viewer vehicle only being used once or twice a year. This is propbably the reason for the low km reading. Thankfully they kept it original and didn't cut or convert the body in any way, they just added some bolt-on seating at the back and the original body, roof, windscreen and doors were all preserved. I would say that about 75% of the original interior trim remains.

I took over management of the game reserve in question just under 3 years ago and at the time the cruiser was owned by the outgoing manager. He tried a few times to export the vehicle back to South Africa with him but C-19 coupled with a few other things made it nearly impossble and after a year of me nagging he finally agreed to sell it to me.

I haven't wasted any time and I dove straight in, I have so far pulled off the body and removed the engine and drivetrain. At the moment the cruiser in in bits with all the different pieces, nuts and bolts ect all carefully photographed, catalogued and stored. As you will see from the following pictures, I am now at the stage of prepping to remove the wheels and differentials so that I can start cleaning and sanding down the chassis for paint. I am not a mechanic by any means and we are located way out in the middle of the Botswana bush under my humble workshop roof but with the help of the workshop manuals, help from those on the forum and hopefully a bit of common sence, I will manage to give the old girl a decent restoration. This won't be a nut and bolt resto as I simply can't afford that but rather a soft restoration with the ultimate goal of being able to use it as a daily drive and capable mid-range overlanding rig.

My short-term goals are:
1) to get it painted and mechanically sound
2) re-install the 2F engine and 4 speed transmission
3) enjoy it as it was intended for a while

Long term goals:
1) powertrain swap, possibly to the 3l D4D deisel engine with 5 speed transmission. Basically to a more modern and fuel efficient engine more suited to long distance travel. Im sure there are many options to be explored.
2) change the load bed/cargo area to a liter flat tray with a half canopy and fold down sides.
These long terms goals may change over the coming years....

I'm looking forward to the adventure and to learning as I go, I'm sure mistakes will be made but hey thats part of the process. Can't wait until I have the old girl back in top shape and on the road once again.

Cheers,
Craig

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Snowbound

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Dec 10, 2015
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scotland
Great to see your 45 and it looks like you are making quite a bit of progress. There is a Land Cruiser specialist in Botswana who may have parts, etc. Classic Cruiser Co in Gaborone, but you maybe know about him already.
 

Iwan

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Welcome Craig, you're lucky by how good your cab and pannels are.. what a great head start!

The d4d's are very hard to wire up to get running, I tried hard a number of years ago to get a 2.4 d4d going but the programming and complexity in the ecu meant that the project died. Just do some research before you spend out on a motor and wiring.. just from experience!

Have seen it done with 1 hdt injector internals (same shape injectors) fitted in the d4d elecronic injectors and running the 12mm 1kzt distribution head denso pump but they're super rare to pickup!

A bit of info for you to scratch the surface,

Interested to follow your project!
 

Craiglord

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Jun 9, 2020
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Thanks Snowbound, I have been talking with them already and have recieved some very helpfull information, unfortunately they also get most of thier parts via South Africa so we are in the same boat. Its nice to have those experienced guys relatively nearby though and I'm sure I will work with them at some stage during this build.

Iwan, thank you for the welcome and the info re the D4D engine. As I suspected that is a road that is going to require much research and work but luckily I'm in no rush to go there at the moment. I will enjoy the 2F for a while and revisit the engine swap in the future.
 

Rodger

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Hi Craig,

Can you post your VIN number please? As the number you have given, in that format, doesn't show up.
Production numbers that includes yours are :
09/70 start number 89034
09/71 finish number 113000
These are all classed as 1971
And, assuming equal monthly production numbers, would make your truck a December 1970.

Very nice truck

Regards,

Rodger
 
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Craiglord

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Jun 9, 2020
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botswana
Hi Craig,

Can you post your VIN number please? As the number you have given, in that format, doesn't show up.
Production numbers that includes yours are :
09/70 start number 89034
09/71 finish number 113000
These are all classed as 1971
And, assuming equal monthly production numbers, would make your truck a December 1970.

Very nice truck

Regards,

Rodger


Hi Rodger

Thanks for the insight! I thought there may have been a mistake on the registration papers stating the year of manufacture as 1985. That chassis number I posted is as it appears stamped onto the front right of the chassis as well as the registration papers.

I have included a photo of the plate from the engine bay incase that helps. I dont know much about these things but it doesnt look like the original factory one...
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Rodger

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Hi Craig,
You are right that the vin plate has been replaced - HJ45 RR - HJ45s were not made until '74 and are diesels so perhaps the RR code stands for 'really rare'!
Seriously thought, the production figures prior to '78 are grouped as one - 217081 FJ45s manufactured between 60-78 although the figures for North America give the break down by frame number by year, as shown previously.

So how rare is the removable top version? Without the original vin plate the model coding not known (unless it is stated in any papers that you may have) and there does not appear to be any definitive information as to the numbers other than LP and the shortbed pick ups were the rarest but even then this info appears to involve some conjecture. Supposedly only 100 removable hard top FJ45s were imported into the USA but that does not mean anything as many more went to different markets. Yours, to me, does not look like a short bed - wheelbase measurement would confirm - and most removable hard top pick ups were designated LPB or LP.

Not much help really.

Regards,

Rodger
 

Craiglord

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Thanks Rodger and Ed for the interesting info!

Looking closer at the VIN plate its states "HJ45 RP" as apposed to the chassis # wich says "FJ45". I suppose that it is entirely possible that at some point in its life it has had a body swap. Possibly when it was repurposed as a Safari vehicle they wanted a removable roof version for the added versatility or for all I know it may have been in an accident that required a body swap but it's all just speculation without the original South African papers and VIN plate. It's all very interesting and certainly perks ones curiosity! Unfortunately the original owner who imported the vehicle into Botswana from South Africa has since passed away but his wife is still involved in the game reserve so perhaps she will know more. It would have been nice if the vehicle had a clear/complete provenance but you cant have it all I guess.

In other news, yesterday I got stuck into disassembling the front diff and steering components which meant tackling the dreaded tie rod ends and pitman arm. I'm sure everyone has a similar story involving those suspects but let's just say that I learnt alot about myself over 7 hours or so at war with those parts :laughing-rolling: no specialized tools, no penetrating oil just a BFH and some brake fluid which is a good substitute for Q20 and the like and luckily they eventually gave up one by one and came out with out me breaking anything or deboning my fingers which was a bonus !Today I will be undoing the leaf springs and dropping both the diffs and in the next couple of weeks I'll be preping and painting the chassis.
 

Rodger

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Hi Craig,

A combination of bad eyes and old age lead me to read the RR and not RP.
'RP' is RHD pickup.
I think the 'H' is an error by the registration people as H, in Toyota terms, is Diesel and F is petrol.
I think you have the original body on its correct/original chassis.

And maybe the owner's widow could fill in some of the truck's history.

Regards,

Rodger
 

Craiglord

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Ok been a bit busy lately so I havent done as much as I'd like to have done but I have at least managed to pull out the diff and strip the last components off the chassis so it is now completely bare. I also had to go to Gaborone for work so whilst there I also bought the chassis paint and relevant preparation materials. I was hoping to prep and paint the chassis now in November.

Today while in the workshop I had another quick look over the chassis and to my dismay I discovered a 3cm long crack on the chassis at the left-rear engine mount. Looks like someone tried to fix something there a while ago and thier welding was not up the scratch and it has cracked along the weld. It actually looks like they replaced the engine mount itself, it does not look original...

Then, just when I thought that's ok it can easily be fixed, I I removed the rear bumper and tow bar and discovered that someone had been let loose, with what I think can only have been a blow torch, on the rear end of the chassis trying to make new holes for the rear bumper. Clearly they had never heard of a drill or the last owner possessed a very casual attitude towards vehicle maintenance :flushed: . They made a complete mess of the rear of the chassis on both sides and this is going to require a skilled welder with an engineering mind to brace this up so that its strong enough to tow things again , skills wich sadly I do not possess.

This all means that I have to get the chassis to an engineering or panel shop which are 3 hours from here and also means that I have to push the paint work back a while until I can get this done.

Still, it could be worse, at least there is no rust and it's part of the adventure and process so onward and upwards, just hope that the old girl isn't hiding and more surprises from me

Take a look at the pictures and see if you can guess what tool was used to make those holes...
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Rodger

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Hi Craig,

The damage looks, to me, like the backend was left submerged in water. How likely that could have been I have no idea but it bears similarities to the damage seen on trucks used for launching boats. But better to find out now even though it delays your plans.

Regards,

Rodger
 

Craiglord

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Hi Rodger

I dont think it was submerged in any water, there is no evidence of that anywhere else on the rear end and the rear diff and wheels are in good shape. Other than fine surface rust where the paint has worn off there is no deep rust anywhere onthe body orthe chassis. Also there are clear tool marks on each of those holes. A mystery for sure but at least it can be fixed and yes better to have found it now :thumbup:
 

Craiglord

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Plans have changed quite a bit in the last month! After stripping it down the bare chassis I am now semi reassembling it so that it can be transported to Gaborone to Classic Cruiser Co Botswana for a professional build which will start in January 2021.

It changed because firstly, I underestimated the amount of work needed to get it to where we could use it every day if we wanted, it is just going to take too long. And two, because of where we are located getting specialized parts shipped in is logistically difficult and I would have needed to transport it nearly all the way to Gaborone for paint and panel bearing anyway which is expensive ....

To say that we are excited is an understatement!
 

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Craiglord

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Finally, after a few complications brought about by covid travel restrictions, I was finally able to deliver my FJ45 to Classic Cruiser Co2 in Gaborone, Botswana. They started work almost immediately and we cant wait to see how it turns out.
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