Kem Merrill's 1975 FJ40

Well, Kem's cruiser was actually just a bit faded but pretty much in great shape.  He had hired someone else to do some work on the truck and they had it for five years!!!. Damn, I thought I was slow.  We took some starter photos and then got started on the disassembly.  Since his truck has so few miles on it we opted not to rebuild the driveline.  Check out the original can of touch up paint.  The straps are factory door straps for when you take off the doors.  The odometer is correct!

Parts everywhere, leaves everywhere, check out the hose clamped A/C lines...very nice!

The rust was not too bad for the most part.  The truck actually came apart pretty easily.  Most of the cancerous rust was in the normal spots.  The corners and hard top joints.   Check out the frame pics with the muck in the holes.

We got the driveline out and the tub apart fairly quickly.  Now begins the body work and the metal prep.  The frame had the typical weld on stuff, nothing to hard to overcome.

Drilling and tapping some frame and body part bolts that happened to get a tad stuck.  I built some custom racks just for painting cruisers, they seem to work pretty well.  Since the paint was in great shape we just sanded most of the body parts down so that the primer would adhere good and the minimal amount of body work could get done.  The bluish stuff you see in these pics is a fine glaze that sticks well to small areas and is for finish filler work.

We cleaned up the motor by removing all the accessories and pressure cleaning the entire block and driveline.  Once we had it cleaned we went to town with picks, toothbrushes and scrapers and got as much of the baked on mud as possible. The frame has returned from the powder coater and Paul has started priming.

Some of the little things that people don't appreciate mostly because they go unnoticed or until they see for themselves.  Kem's jump seat frames were rotten with nasty repair welds and rust.  We ground out the welds and redid them and repaired the rusted out tubing.  Another thing that takes a along time is simply organizing every thing.  We clean and org. all the bolts, nuts, clips, pins, and springs for later reassembly.  Usually we end up recycling most of the rusted bolts as we prefer to use stainless fasteners when things go back together.  Notice the sweet radio.

Axles going together and the chassis soon following.  Earlier I mentioned that we did not rebuild his driveline but notice we thoroughly clean, prepped and painted everything once final assembly began. 

Ahhhhh the joys of bodywork....NOT!.  You can see some of the cancer I mentioned earlier.  We cut it out and finish ground it back to a factory fit, then glazed it, sanded and prepped it for priming.  The pic of me is after priming.  Usually we do an epoxy primer, grey primer, sealer buildup of primer coats, each 'layer' coat gets wet sanded with 400 grit.  When the last wet sanding is done we wipe the parts dry, chemically clean, then tack cloth and its pretty much on to the finish coat.

These last series show the finish coat being applied, the liner coat being applied.... topside and bottom side and the tub starting to go back together.

Little hurdle we had here.  The windshield hinge was tweaked on one side so that it did not close properly.  You can see the difference from the other one in the pics.  So we disassembled the hinge, heated it up and shaped it correctly, of course I had to repaint it.  But I had to paint his spare tire carrier because I left it out of the job so it was no big deal.

Putting in cruiser windows is actually difficult, more so solo, which I usually am.  I use tape to hold the w/s around the glass then slit the tape where the inner flap is, then install the rope.  This helps me do this solo.  I also use tape to hold down newly installed tub to door w/s.

Wiring is a specialty of mine.  I go thru and check every wire for frays and such, clean the connectors, repair and remove any bad wiring and then add any circuits you want added then reloom the harness with later model loom.

Kem's top had some damage done to it from a rack he had on top of it.  We ground out the rot and replaced it with fiberstrand filler to give it permanent strength.  I just now noticed Paul painted the top not five feet from Jim Schrader's truck....ugh...Next came the buffing, I left it to Paul because quite frankly it pretty much is an awful experience.

Kem decided on a grey interior.  The guys at Acey's do awesome custom work and they alway turn out quality pieces.  The remake the door panels for me out of thicker material and punch out the appropriate holes.

Here you can see a couple of things we needed to fix.  First the non ground wire turn signals.  I love em and hate em.  They are a good quality part, but why the hell dont they ground the units.  The carb has wads of varnish in the bottom of it as well as the fuel pump from sitting up so long.  The winch also had to be rewired a bit.

Tim from Acey's came over and did the headliner for me and helped me prep the gasket for the driprail.

Kem Merrill and his finished truck.  He will be back in the spring for me to finish up the A/C system and Stereo system

The Cruiser Company   

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Friday, March 07, 2008

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