Build Chapter 1: Vehicle Run Down

Join me on my mission to repair, modify and build my Toyota Landcruiser BJ40 into my dream 4wd.

cruiser cover

For anyone that’s followed me from the start, you’ll know that I’ve spent my fair share of time around a bunch of different old Landcruisers and that I’ve always had a soft spot for the 40 Series.  With the Suzuki build complete, it felt only right to start searching for my new build.

So…Back in September (my birthday to be exact, what are the odds?) I purchased a Toyota Landcruiser BJ40. I had spent the previous 3 months searching for the right 40 Series, I even flew half way across the country in hopes of purchasing one. Little did I know that I’d end up finding the right one not only in Tasmania, but 5 minutes down the road from my house.

Now this one was hands down the tidiest one I looked at and for the asking price of $9,500, I was more than happy to hand the money over and take the BJ40 home with me.

With my first big 4wd trip to the mainland planned in March 2019, I sure do have my work cut out for me. So keep your eyes peeled to this build over the next 4 months, because some big things are coming. But for now… Scroll on down and check out the details of my new purchase.

1978 BJ40


It’s a 1978 Toyota Landcruiser BJ40, with a factory 3L B engine, fitted with a Garrett 465296-5 Turbo ( ….Google tells me it’s off a 2L Saab 900) peaking at 14 pound boost. Apart from having the factory air box removed and replaced with a donaldson air box and the turbo of course, everything under the hood is exactly how it came off the production line 40 years ago.  It’s even still running the factory 4 speed gear box… For now.

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Not much has changed with the suspension in the past 40 years… The shocks have been replaced with Tough Dog Shocks and it looks like recently the leaf spring bushes have been changed, but apart from that everything looks original and standard.

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Wheels and Tyres:

You’ll notice from the photos that the 40 isn’t running the factory split rims fitted with the typical cheese cutters. Instead the previous owner fitted a set of 15×8 Dynamic steel rims and wrapped them with a set of 33″ Hankook Dynapro MT tyres.



Over the many years of being around a bunch of different 40 Series, not 1 of them has ever been rust free. Sure, some of them have just had minor surface rust, but the majority have had rust holes big enough to fit my fist through.

So it’s fair to say finding a 40 Series with minimal rust was at the top of my list and that’s definitely what sold me on this particular BJ40.  I’m confident in saying that apart from the bottom of the front doors and a couple of small sections on the rear of the bolt on side panels, this BJ40 is rust free.

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Looking at the interior of the vehicle, you’ll notice there’s been a few minor things changed or upgraded that aren’t original. Previously the 40 series had been setup as a soft top and the original owner had fabricated and fitted a roll bar, luckily enough the hardtop just squeezes over it.

The original bench seats have also been removed and replaced with a set of 60 Series Landcruiser seats, quite the upgrade if you ask me.  A stereo, speakers, and charging ports have also been installed in the front of the vehicle, along with the fitment of after market gauges to keep an eye on what’s happening under the bonnet.

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Overall the BJ40 is in great condition for its age and with only a couple minor 4wd modifications (50mm body lift and snorkel), it’s the perfect base to start my new build. As I mentioned above, this build is ramping up right now and over the next 4 months a huge list of modifications are going to be happening.  So keep your eyes peeled for chapter two of this build, where you’ll see me completely strip back the 40, repair the rust and lay down a fresh coat of paint. 









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