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Thread: Blender, My LX450/FZJ80 + FJ45esk + GM + Land Rover crazy concoction

  1. #1
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    Default Blender, My LX450/FZJ80 + FJ45esk + GM + Land Rover crazy concoction

    I have started a new project that is going to be a pseudo replacement for my 1942 Willys MB and my Dodge W250 that I built a few years back.
    You can read about those builds here....

    http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...1942-Willys-MB

    And.

    http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...-Doitall-Dodge

    I am going to have to play a bit of catch up with this thread. I don't get over the Expo as much as I would like these days. I got sucked into the Willys section at Pirate4x4 when I was building my 1942 MB. That little thing opened a few doors for me. After taking it on a few trips to Moab and an epic 2000+ mile 13 day trip up north...

    Read about that here....
    http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/jeep-...s-nirvana.html

    ...I was luck enough to be one of the readers invited to attend the 2014 Ultimate Adventure trip hosted by 4-wheel and Off-road Magazine. That trip consisted of a crazy 3150 mile tour of the midwest. In 2015 I was invited back to Ultimate Adventure again as the Returning Reader. Once returning from that trip the gears in my head wouldn't stop grinding away at what to build next. I had another project lined up to build that was ( and still is ) a frustration. In a fit, I made the mistake of cruising Craigslist for a project. I knew generally what I was looking to build as far as the general package, but I didn't know what to start with.

    After my adventures over the last few years, my wishlist has evolved as I spend more time neck deep in this sport. My Dodge has been a great vehicle for years. It is basically just a 1 ton diesel powered 4wd truck with big dumb tires. For a lot of things it works well. It has a top, doors, windows, heater, power, and gets good mileage. My ol' Willys, on the other hand, is open, small, short, limited to about 60mph, and did I mention small. While I love the little thing to death, and it is FAR more capable than I ever through a vehicle on 35" tires and an 85" wheelbase could be, it just isn't that practical.

    What I really wanted was a blend ( ha...get it...blender ) of both those vehicles.

    This is what I came up with so far....



    -1996 LX450 ( same as FZJ80 ) chassis ( it was a super clean unit with only 110K miles that was flopped over in a ditch on a snowy road )
    -1970 FJ45-esk custom pinched cab/tub ( which started out as a mostly rust free FJ40 tub from Arizona )
    -2013 LC9 5.3 GM V8 all aluminum engine ( from a rolled truck with less than 50K miles )
    -6L80E 6-speed automatic ( from the same truck as the engine and still attached from the factory )
    -Land Rover LT230 transfer case ( from a Discovery2(?), it is the SE version with the unused center diff lock from the factory with 1.2 high range and 3.32 low range.
    -Toyota Factory 4.10 E-Locker Differentials ( that came in the LX450 from the factory )
    -40" Tires and Beadlock wheels ( because I like big dumb tires )
    -Warn 8274 winch

    In general I wanted ( no real specific order )

    -About a 110" wheelbase, the J80 chassis is 112" (close enough)
    -Modern, reliable V8 power with about 300hp, cheap, with easy to find parts.
    -Automatic transmission. I think for the technical 'wheeling I do they have an advantage.
    -BROAD gearing, not just low gearing. I like being able to run between harder section of the trail, and in the sand/desert, without having to do the low-hi range shuffle.
    -Be able to travel at modern interstate speeds of 75-80mph without needing a death grip on the wheel and focused concentration.
    -Cruise control. I seem to always go on these long adventures....
    -Flat smooth belly at about 1/2 tire diameter. I tend to build vehicles very low for stability and handling. To make that work I try and maximize the belly clearance while keeping it as smooth as practical.
    -Limited front overhang. Just enough room for the winch past the grill. It won't be a 90 degree approach angle, but close
    -Limited rear overhang. With the longer wheelbase you can more easily get the front end up on very large obstacles. If the rear end gets in the way your forward/upward progress stops
    -25-30 gallon fuel capacity that doesn't get in the way
    -Full float rear axle because semi-float shafts suck when they break, or bend, when your doing stupid stuff you shouldn't (check)
    -Serviceable wheel bearings, because I like being able to inspect/replace/repack those parts (check)
    -Big dumb tires, because I feel that allows me to do crazy things that I like to do.
    -Room for a big dump spare tire that will not get in the way of rearward visibility
    -4 wheel disc brakes, to help stop the big dumb tires.
    -Coil/link suspension, to help with approach and departure angles along with provide a more complaint 'modern' ride quality.
    -Front end weight bias, so that when it is loaded down for larger trips it is still close or better than 50/50 front to rear.
    -Smaller body. I want the body to be comfortable for 2 people, but no bigger than needed for tight trail work.
    -Almost no lift. I like running big dumb tires, but I don't like using feet of 'lift' to do it.
    -Modular lockable had top. While I enjoy an open air high visibility driving immersion in the environment, I hate getting hit in the back of the ear by tire spray on the highway.
    -Doors, that lock, with windows
    -Heater
    -Good ventilation, but no complex heavy complicated A/C systems
    -Comfy interior
    -etc
    -etc

    I have a thread in the wrong section of pirate here...

    http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/jeep-...ping-ship.html

    I will be taking off from the point in the above picture in this thread. If you want to ask questions from the stuff in that other thread feel free.
    I like questions. I like hearing other points of view and criticism on my dump ideas.
    And go....

  2. #2
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    I'm new"ish" to wheeling, etc but my god, I didn't even know 40" tires were a thing.
    Mike

    2006 LR3 HSE - Java Black
    With some accessories

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by StreetsofCompton View Post
    I'm new"ish" to wheeling, etc but my god, I didn't even know 40" tires were a thing.
    I will be the 1st to admit that I am on the fringe with tire size.
    My old flat fender Willys runs 35s and my Dodge is running 38.5s, both with basically no lift.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Dallas, Oregon
    Posts
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    Default Blender, My LX450/FZJ80 + FJ45esk + GM + Land Rover crazy concoction

    This is great! Exactly what I would love to build someday, I love your Jeep! So this should be like that only better...


    Sent from my iPhone using paper airplanes.
    1982 Toyota Pickup. Incredibly impractical.

    1981 Toyota Trekker. Stock. For now...
    My first Yota actually. (Sold)

    1987 Toyota 4Runner. A project that never seems to end. (Sold)

    1986 Suzuki Samurai. Very un-stock. Toyota axles, hi-steer, 35's, etc. (Sold)

    1989 Cherokee XJ 2-door (SOLD)

    I. Love. 4x4s. Call me crazy...

  5. #5
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    Oct 2008
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    Roca Blanca
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metcalf View Post
    I have started a new project...
    Damn! There goes what little is left of my spare time! Did you have to???

    You've been thinking on this a while. Good to see its on!
    '94 Santa Monica Airlines 39" longboard, Indy 159s, Powell AT wheels
    '99 UZJ 100 with OME, 255 ST Max’s and factory locker.
    '14 Dodge 3500 6.7, 68RFE with Thurens, 5100s, 305/70-18 ST Maxxxxxs
    '17 Northern Lite 9-6 Q. Factory ordered to my spec.
    '74 Airstream International 29'

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by redthies View Post
    Damn! There goes what little is left of my spare time! Did you have to???

    You've been thinking on this a while. Good to see its on!
    Sorry....

    This project just kinda happened. I had my heart set on doing something else that I have been designing for a few years, but I just couldn't get it to go like I wanted. In a fit of frustration and with a fistful of cash I ended up here.

  7. #7
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    You might rethink the factory locked axles. The rears tend to twist the splines when they break (usually wheeling hard with 37" or bigger tires). This prevents you from removing the broken axle shaft and requires you to cut the housing open to cut out the shafts. The process usually trashes the locker shift fork as well. You may have a lower risk of this being a bit lighter, but the 40" tires are pretty extreme for those shafts. An easy solution might be to trade somebody for a non locked rear....
    Attached Images Attached Images
    1995 T100, Beater Edition
    1997 Land Cruiser, Family Crawler
    2001 Sequoia, Family Hauler
    2002 Camry, Commuter Chariot

    Never worry about biting off more than you can chew....your mouth is probably bigger than you think it is.

  8. #8
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    Glad to see this project over here. I don't get over to Pirate.

    I have really enjoyed your other builds, so look forward to this one.
    Neil
    Member-161

  9. #9
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    To summarize what I have done with the body so far.



    I brought this up from Arizona. It is in decent condition for a 45 year old tub, but not perfect.



    Then this happened! I swear it just fell in half like that....



    Then I removed what was left of the old toolbox under the drivers seat along with the fuel tank sump. The rear floor support had to go also.




    Then I took a 6-7 degree wedge out of the floor pan starting at the door opening and stuck things back together.



    Now I am left with a tub that is only about 55.5-56" wide overall. It is just about 3" narrower than your typical CJ5-7-8/YJ/TJ tub. I can still use a stock hood, windshield, wipers, etc. I wanted something slightly less wide in the hips for this chassis. The axles only 63" wide and even with 9" wide wheels with 3.75" backspacing and a 13.5 wide tire the overall width is JUST under 80" wide. Having the body be slightly narrower will keep it out of trouble on the trail.

    This body is also 'modular' for the most part. The windshield frame comes off, the top panels bolt on, etc. This way, it if is damaged on the trail I can replace parts without having to worry about the entire tub that much.

    I went back and forth ( and honestly still am ) about building a pickup vs an SUV shape. I think both have upsides and downsides.....



    I have decided to make this one a small pickup. It will be stretched about 2.5-3" from a standard Toyota FJ45 dimensions. The back end is basically going to be a simple skin over a 1.5" square tube skeleton that will also function as the rollcage. With the smaller cabin volume I didn't want to sacrifice a lot of space by having a separate cage structure. The top panels will also be bolting to this structure, in the end I think it will actually save be a decent amount of work along with space.

    The hood will remain stock for easy replacement. I got this cool extra patina mockup hood from the guy selling the tub. It is pretty rough, it will work for mockup and test driving but I am in search for a later model seamless hood in good condition for when it goes to paint.



    While the hood can remain stock, I am going to have to do quite a bit of work to the grill to make room for the tires to turn. This is a rough 'chop of what the modded grill will look like. I am basically going to have to move the headlights in about 2" per side to give me enough room to eliminate the 'corner' on the factory grill shape. I will narrow the bezel also....which I need to find also.

    The front end will be getting some small aluminum sheet fenders to help blend with what I am going to do on the bed I am designing.



    I also have to cut a big freaking hole in the floor to make room for the transfer case. The Land Rover LT230 is NOT a mall unit. The entire powertrain is above the bottom of the frame rail to provide a completely flat belly. The body is as low as practical on the chassis. There is only about 1" of clearance over the engine to the hood ridge.

    In the end it doesn't look like the vehicle will be as low as I hoped for. While the suspension will be 'stock', the position of the body is adding about 2" of 'lift' compared to a stock FJ40 from what I can tell. The J80 frame is 6" tall in the belly section and the FJ40 hat channels are rather chunky units. The body can't really go any lower unless I swapped to a car intake on the engine, which I don't want to do. Having about 2-3" of 'lift' overall to run a 40" tire doesn't sound too bad. My math may be a bit off also compared to 'stock'. The chassis will think and drive like it doesn't have any lift other than what I get from the reduction in sprung weight. My hope is that this vehicle will just squeak in under 4000lbs when it's done. It will be close, and likely over that with a full tank of fuel, people, a 40" spare tire, etc.

    Ok.....I think that is where I am at with the body.....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klierslc View Post
    You might rethink the factory locked axles. The rears tend to twist the splines when they break (usually wheeling hard with 37" or bigger tires). This prevents you from removing the broken axle shaft and requires you to cut the housing open to cut out the shafts. The process usually trashes the locker shift fork as well. You may have a lower risk of this being a bit lighter, but the 40" tires are pretty extreme for those shafts. An easy solution might be to trade somebody for a non locked rear....
    How about adding alloy shafts? From my research, that seems to fix the spline twisting and breaking issue for the most part.

    http://www.justdifferentials.com/AXT...axtff-fj80.htm

    or

    http://www.rdmoffroad.com/polyperfor...haftspair.aspx

    The other think I have been looking into is seeing how similar the E-locker internals are from a later model cruiser with 32 spline shafts. I have heard rumors that it may be possible to swap some of the parts around to allow a 32 spline shaft to fit. That may only apply to other differentials and not the factory e-locker.

    Buying a non-locked axle, and then another locker, isn't in the cards....or rather the wallet.

    I should be seeing a fairly drastic weight loss from the stock application, especially a build stock bodied vehicle. Most of those I have found seem to be pushing 5-6K pounds loaded, with a LOT of weight on the rear axle. This thing is going to be as light as practical on the rear axle. The fuel tank will be located behind the axle, but the bed will be mostly aluminum. I tend to pack pretty light. I will likely run a full size spare TIRE ( only the tire ) on longer trips. I will make sure to get some corner weights when it's getting close to done.

    I watched one of the other UA2015 invited readers BEAT on his FJ80 rear axle with E-locker which had upgraded shafts. He was running 38.5 sticky tires. This was swapped in a 4-door sidekick, but it was loaded down pretty good for this trip. That gave me some faith in the alloy shaft solution....

    Thank you for the input.

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