As title says, doing a coworkers Wii, it is 3.4U.
Can I just upgrade it to 4.1 first, and then use the guide I used to do my 4.1U wii? The guide doesn't implement the update until after the cIOS have been downgraded, patched, upgraded, and cIOS249 has been added. Is there a particular reason to do all this before upgrading to firmware 4.1? Why not just do it first add the HBC, add the cIOS, and be done? There wasn't a reason provided in the guide, it was just said to do it that way.
Don't know what guide you used, but we have a guide to softmod 3.1-4.1 system menu version. It is in the guides section and during the process of the guide, it will walk you through updating to 4.1.