2004: The Beginning

Day one(ish).

After driving the car for a little over a year I decided to start making some changes.  Removing the heavy hard top was at least a two man job so I decided to sell it and opt for a soft top.  The old hard top was sold in September but unfortunately the soft top was back-ordered through December.  During this same time, one of the rear brake cylinders started to leak.  Didn't seem like a major problem at first, but eventually it was so bad, the brakes had to be pumped in order to come to a complete stop.  Having put up with this long enough, I drove it to my friends shop to fix the brakes...presumably over the weekend...or over the next week...er uh I mean month...year...ahem...several years.

Arriving in the shop, late at night, in the rain, in an FJ40 with no top, we immediately grabbed a creeper and rolled underneath.  Indeed the brakes were leaking, but there were some additional "issues."  The bottom halves of the inner frame channels were completely rusted out and the passenger frame rail had a large vertical stress crack.  Since the cracked frame was right below the fuel tank and next to the fuel lines, we began the first of what would become much, dis-assembly.  With the tank and lines removed we'd exposed a large section of rust in the floor pan under the tank.  This prompted further inspections for body rust.  We pulled the seats and found more rust under the driver's seat plus a floor pan that was riveted in over more rust.  We removed the aluminum rear corners and found more rust (and chicken wire/bondo).  Pretty much everywhere we looked, we found more rust.  It was right about here, that we decided this project would take a little longer than a weekend


Needing some sort of starting point, we went for the floor pans.  Shown on the left is the 
passenger pan with the driver's being on the right.

After very carefully flame cutting and die grinding out the factory floors we were left with this very large, gaping hole.  We left only this small section of transmission hump.

The factory linkage hump remained, mostly to make the transmission hump easier to retain.
Passenger pan replaced, drivers still missing

I went to a local surplus store and picked up some tread-plate sections for about 20 bucks, they happened to be just the right size to make a floor pan.   In order to make reusing the factory transmission hump easier, we retained the factory "bump" that was above the transfer case on the passenger's side. 

Replaced tub corners

At some point in this beast's sordid past, water had infiltrated this main beam structure and rusted it from the inside out.  The top side (the parts you could see from inside the tub) appeared ok, but from underneath it was very clear that there was almost nothing holding the body to the frame.  We rebuilt the ends out of sections of 1/4" angle iron.  We tapered the ends to close it up to the elements and allow more tire clearance.

Completed diamond plate floor pans

Having no "special" contours, the drivers pan went much quicker.  Overall we were very pleased with how they turned out and the price was much less than buying replacement pans.