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1976 Toyota FJ40 - Monster Stomper

Posted in Project Vehicles on October 1, 2006 Comment (0)
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In Texas they like to do things big, and this includes their trucks. Check out Jeff Bush's '67 Toyota Land Cruiser for example. Though there's not much original of this FJ40 underneath, Jeff has retained the original body's look, save for a few chops here and there for tire clearance. This gave a super-clean monster Stomper look that resembles something we used to stick AA batteries in as a kid. And from the look on Jeff's face when he's driving, it looks like he gets just about that same reaction as we did when playing with our own Stompers as kids.

We caught up with Jeff playing around in Katemcy, Texas. Though he spends a lot of time out there for fun, this particular weekend he was competing for some crawlin' points, and in the process wasted a brand-new 46-inch Baja Claw. Now that is an expensive tire whoops!

Vehicle: '67 Toyota FJ40
Engine: Corvette engine bored 0.030 ove
Transmission: TH350 with TH400 torque converter
Transfer Case: NP203/NP203/NP205, WMS adapters
Front Axle: 2 1/2-ton Rockwell, 6.72 gears, welded diff pinion-mounted disc brake, full hydraulic steering
Rear Axle: 2 1/2-ton Rockwell, 6.72 gears, welded diff pinion-mounted brake, full hydraulic steering
Tires & Wheels: 46x19.50-15 Mickey Thompson Baja Claws on 15-inch Marsh Racing bead locks

Pushing Jeff's big Toy around is a transplant from a 'Vette, with a 0.030-over bore and 2.02 turbo heads. This is more than enough grunt to put through the TH350 tranny to turn not one or two, but three transfer cases! One thing different about Jeff's TH350 is that he used a TH400 torque converter for more line pressure and a lower stall speed.

Floating the front Rockwell is a three-link wishbone setup riding on Rancho XJ Cherokee coils with Pro Comp ES3000 shocks absorbing the bumps. The front and rear suspensions and axles are almost identical builds, with a fully hydraulic steering system pushing the Claws, and a welded diff making sure the tires turn. Check out how Jeff's tie rod is mounted behind the front axle and through the lower suspension links.

Jeff has a pretty unique drivetrain under his Toyota. Wagoner Machine Shop made adapters to allow he and buddy Paul Hanks to stick three transfer cases (NP203/NP203/NP205) under his truck for super-low range. One interesting note is that Jeff says he can barely stop his Claws (even with pinion brakes) when in the lowest range. This is something to think about when building your next 4x4 and wondering how low of a gear you want to have with an automatic. It's probably not safe to have a low range that's so low and strong that you're not able to stop your vehicle with the brakes.

A 2 1/2-ton Rockwell steering axle was placed in the rear, along with its 6.72 gear ratio and stock differential (welded, of course). Full hydraulic steering directs the rig, while a pinion-mounted disc brake stops those big 46-inch Claws mounted on Marsh Racing bead locks. Holding the axle in place is a three-link upper wishbone suspension design that Jeff and a few of his friends run with great success. From what we saw, it looks like a pretty good way to go if using full hydraulic steering and not having to worry about a drag link.

Jeff was the first guy we ever saw damage a 46-inch Baja Claw; he ripped the sidewall of the inner part of the tire right off the carcass. It didn't puncture the carcass, so he was able to drive it out, but just to put that in perspective, he got less than 50 miles out a $500+ tire. Ouch!


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