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H55 5-Speed Swap Into A 1973 FJ40



Charles Kondo was kind enough to share his experience with installing an Aussie H55 5 speed tranny and split transfer case into his 1973 FJ40. Those of us in the Cool Cruisers Info Exchange know him as HI50. His email is hi50phd@hotmail.com.


Notes on the installation of a 5-speed H55 in a 1973 FJ 40

I have a '73 '40' which has been substantially restored and reconstructed. The power plant is a rebuilt 'F' which has good low speed torque and enhanced high RPM capabilities. The rebuild included: balance, blue print, porting, polishing, headers, RV cam, Weber 32/36, Jacobs ignition. My goals for the 40' were: to cruise easily at the speed limit (in UT, we are liberal with the national 75 mph limit) and, in addition, have good, low speed off-road performance. A 5-speed transmission (H55) was chosen to replace the 4-speed which a previous owner had installed in the vehicle. I believed that the 4.84 low and .85 5th gears would allow me to achieve both highway and byway goals . These transmissions were available in FJ 60's produced for the Australian market, though not available in the US on TLCs. The 5-speeds are currently being imported by several outfits specializing in TLC parts and services. I ruled out the NV4500 it is longer than the H55 and would not, I was informed, fit as well in the short '40' .

The transmission bolts up to the F and 2F with no modifications. One caveat. The 5-speed for the six cylinder gas and diesel engines are, apparently, interchangeable. The 5-speed from the four cylinder diesel has a different input shaft, Ive been told and does not fit the F or 2F. So, make sure you get a transmission from a six cylinder engine. There are several factors associated with the installation that should be considered before purchasing a transmission. They significantly influence the total cost of the project.

1. No clutch changes are needed. I did replace the stock clutch with a Center Force thinking that I could save labor costs in the long run.

2. Drive shaft lengths need to be modified and I took the opportunity to replace bearings (same rationale).

3. The drum-type parking brake from the 3- or 4-speed must be replaced because they cannot be adapted to the brake location on the split transfer case of the 5-speed. I used the disc parking brake kit from Man-a-Fre. I understand that it is no longer being made. If you need a parking brake, have a plan to do the brake conversion before you purchase the transmission. If you have rear disc brakes, for example, you may have a parking brake caliper available.

4. The floor plate holes for shift and transfer levers will need to be relocated and you may need to heat and bend the shift lever, depending on your height and arm length. I don't know if the levers would interfere with the stock units because I had new seats (300ZX) and console (Tuffy) installed on my TLC with custom brackets.

5. If you have a skid plate, it will need to be modified.

6. My transmission was mounted using existing brackets. I did not add a rear cross member, but you may decide to do so.

7. If you have a speedometer error, it will need to be corrected with a ratio changer. These are available at most speedometer shops. The FJ 60, from which this transmission is taken, has only one transmission speedometer gear available.

8. The picture of the shift pattern on your glove box door needs to be modified. I had a decal made up with the correct pattern.


The bottom line. Total cost = $3800-3900 in parts and labor for this conversion. An approximate itemization (prices are from memory) from my own installation is as follows:

1. transmission = $2200 (rebuilt with new bearings and gaskets, this is an exceptional price and may not be available at this time); This price includes the split transfer case;

2. clutch, pressure plate, throw-out bearing = $300;

3. parking brake kit = $200;

4. floor and shift lever mods = $100;

5. drive shafts = $225 (including new bearings);

6. ratio changer = $100;

7. miscellaneous (gaskets, fluids, etc) = $100.

8. Installation+labor+fabrication cost = $650.

Notes:

1) if you decide to rebuild your 5-speed, prior to installation, you may need to figure in an additional $800 to the total bill( $250 in parts + $450 in labor);

2)for those who do their own work, can weld and are skilled at improvisation, the final tab could be much less. My conversion was performed by D.J.s Traction Systems, Salt Lake City, UT (mail@dj40.com)


Review. I enjoy the flexibility and performance of the '40' with the 5-speed transmission. I can cruise effortlessly at 84 mph (75 mph + 10% error) and stay under the "suggested" 'F' redline of approximately 4000 rpm. I also have good torque and control in "low + low". The split transfer case is stronger than the 4-speed t-case. The fifth gear, by the way, also allows a fairly comfortable 4-low speed of about 45 mph for those smooth stretches of dirt/gravel road when you're too lazy to go to 4-high.

Everyone, however, needs to make decisions about resource allocation and you can do a bunch of things to the 40 for the same total outlay of cash. For example, the following modifications can all be performed for $4000 or less. An engine rebuild (new parts, balanced, blue printed, ported, polished, RV cam, headers, Weber, Jacobs/HEI, clutch, exhaust); 2, ARBs + 4, alloy rims and 33" tires; complete Old Man Emu suspension or spring-over + shackle reversal and labor; front + rear disc brakes + power steering. As you can see, these would all impact on and off road performance as much, if not more than, the H55. Good luck in choosing among all the attractive alternatives.


Major sources of parts/supplies for 5-speed conversions:

Man-a-Fre = http://www.man-a-fre.com (They have 5-speeds and overhaul kits available)

Specter = http://www.sor.com (They have seals, gaskets, bearings, shop manuals for the 5-speeds; they list a transmission, but have no price available)

Other possible sources:

LCC = http://www.landcruiserconnection.com/ (They have new 5-speeds available for $4850 + shipping) TPI = http://www.tpilandcruiser.com (One of their parts salesmen was importing pallets of transmissions when I began my conversion)

Palmerston = http://www.4wdspares.com.au/4wdspares/reco/recon.html (I exchanged Email with this dismantler in Australia. The cost of the transmission would be approximately the same ($2200 US, including shipping) and you would have an accurate background regarding the contributing vehicle.

After importing wing window seals for my 40 from Australia', I decided against further adventures of that kind. Now, if a large club wanted to import a pallet of 5-speeds.......)


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