Planet 4x4 - Bad Dawg - Killer FJ40 Mud Racer

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Bad Dawg - Killer FJ40 Mud Racer

Darrel and Phyllis Poulter's '71 FJ40 is like no other Land Cruiser around. Built to stomp butt at the races, this 835 horse, big block powered Toyota holds its own. Check out why this rig has earned the name "Bad Dawg".

The Dawg wasn't always a killer machine, it started out like any other dead stock FJ40. Picked up in 1982 it wasn't long before it started getting modded for the trail. The Dawg did trail duty for years until the mud racing bug hit and then it was on from there.

Can you believe the Dawg started out like this?

To come out on top at the races you need a great engine. This rig has what it takes in the form of 540 Cubic inch Merline Block with a set of Brodix Heads-2 Extra topping off the cylinders. The entire valve train is roller and that is ran by a Erson roller camshaft with a .720 lift and a 221 degree duration on the intake side and a .751 lift and a 219 degree duration on the exhaust side. Compression comes in at 14:1 and racing fuel is the only thing that the Dawg will drink. To get that racing fuel in, a Divinci custom built, 1275 cfm carburetor sits atop a Brodix high rise intake.

To ignite the gasses, a complete MSD system was set up. The distributor is an MSD billet model with a crank trigger. An MSD coil and 2 step Module controls the whole works. Hard timing is set at 32 degrees. Handling the exhaust duties are a set of Hedman Hustler Headers that have been tuned for the engine. So how much can this engine crank out? Try 835 horses at 7,000 RPM with 717 for the torque at 6,500 RPM measured on the dyno at the flywheel. Darrel also pointed out that the horsepower reading was still going up but they had limited the run to 7,000 RPM. This combo was able to lift the front end way off the ground at one mud race.
Backing up that killer engine is a TH400 that was built strong along with a transbrake for taking off at the line. Its connected tot he engine through a 4,600 RPM Stall converter. The four wheel drive is taken care of by a good old dead stock, yet bullet proof, NP205. Drivelines were built by Jims Driveline in Boise, Idaho. The rear axle is a Currie 9" with Currie Axles with 4:88 gears and a spool. The front axle housing is the stock FJ40 unit with upgraded Warn axles, a limited slip and 4:10 gears. Steering is handled by an AGR box with 4x4 Labs Draglink and Tierod mounted up high.

Suspension is 4" Rancho leaves all the way around along with a spring over conversion with a shackle reversal for better handling. Putting the power to the ground is aided by a set of adjustable ladder bars with a custom sliding shackle setup. Damping duties are done by Ranbcho 9000 series shocks. for the sand drags, a competition Engineering Wheelie bar is bolted on.
The interior has been stripped down to the bare essentials. The roll cage was built by Qualifab in Boise, Idaho and a set of racing seats bolt to it. A B&M Quicksilver reverse ratchet shifter handles the fast shifts and in the back sits an aluminum fuel cell and dual yellow top Optima batteries. The Dawg has been on its lid a few times and the cage does its job with no problems.

The Dawg has been in Dozens of events from Sand Drags to full out bogs. Check out some of these action shots!


The Dawg holds its own at the track. This is just the trophies and plaques that it received just for the 2006 race season. You had better be quick to take a trophy from the Dawg.

Darrel was also quick to thank his sponsors for making this happen, so special thanks to Bucks 4x4, Bratton Racing Engines (Moffit Bratton), Jims Drive train, and most of all his wife Phyllis who he said was a better driver then him and none of it would have happened without her.


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