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TXST8tj 12-04-2007 01:21 PM

CJ Build
a build thread for the CJ5...
i wanted to get a build thread started for this CJ5 as i think this build will move much faster than my TJ build will.
if you have not seen the post ( ), i was given a 1979 CJ5 for free. this thread is for the build-up of said jeep.

since my buddy/coworker has a great interest in CJ5s, i have passed the jeep ownership over to him. i figure, i have a TJ of my own to work on and i would not be able to put time and money into both right now, and he has both the time and money for the CJ5, so he is going to fund the build, and i am going to build it. in the end, we'll have two jeeps to wheel, and i can certainly live with that. i would rather someone get some use out of it than have it sit in my garage for who knows how long.

i brought my CO2 tank up to work the other day and aired up the tires to make it easier to roll around. i backed it up under the car cover b/c the weather has been so on and off these days. it has also allowed me to pick at it a bit here and there during the workday. the carpet is pulled and i got most of the loose leaves and twigs and such out.

we have a build plan for it. we sat down yesterday and i went over my ideas with him and i got an idea of what he wants out of it. he wants something that he can do some moderate wheeling with but also use to drive around the street in nice weather.

i am getting a parts list in line for it and he will start ordering them when i'm done. i found a front d44 out of a wagoneer on CL that we will be picking up as soon as the guy emails me back with place and time. i still need to get a rear d44...preferably from a waggy. just to keep things the same as much as possible....width, bolt pattern, etc. we will at very least regear them and add lockers. if he'll go for the expense, we will upgrade the shafts too.

the 258 6cyl, T150 3spd tranny, and dana 20 tcase, d30 front, and AMC 20 rear are all going in favor of updated equipment. i need to locate a 6cyl/5spd/np231 drivetrain out of a TJ or late XJ. i feel that this CJ5 only needs a 6cyl for as small as it is, plus it will only be running 33s so it doesn't need a V8. getting something newer will add to the reliability plus it will have all the power we will need.

the whole thing will start with a complete teardown. i've been pulling little stuff off when i can here and there throughout the last couple days. we are trying to schedule a saturday where we can take the whole day to get it completely torn apart. we will take the body and frame to get mediablasted. then we will start the body repairs...the very few that there are, paint the body and POR15 the frame. then start putting it all back together.

i would like to have the axles together and the suspension here (rubicon express 2.5" ultimate kit) when the body and frame are done so we can sling the axles under it and at least have a rolling chassis. we're going to be using the shop here at work to build this thing so space really isn't a problem, but being able to move it around certainly helps.

being christmas time, getting parts in is probably going to take a little longer than usual, so finish time is really pretty tenative. he would like this thing running by March/April when it warms up though.

debruins 12-04-2007 01:29 PM

new does not mean reliable!!!!
personally i would get a stronger Cj engine for lessa nd make it EFI, you end up wiht a much mroe reliable engine for cheaper, all the computer stuff is jsut not good in a CJ, as for trannys newer is better thats true

TXST8tj 12-04-2007 01:50 PM

we have been really busy today doing our jobs...

hahaha. ok nevermind. we pulled the jeep over to the shop and started tearing it down. we got some good work done in a short amount of time.
we got the rear hunting seat out, the front seats out, the rollbar out, the windshield off, and the dash is ready to come off after we pull the steering wheel....kinda needed that to move it around easier though.

here are some pics...
the new owner

lost 12-04-2007 02:05 PM

looks like itll be fun :D

TXST8tj 12-04-2007 03:34 PM

should be. it will be a sub-$10k build, but should be quite nice and fun when it's all over.

TXST8tj 12-04-2007 08:57 PM

got some more pics. we made some more headway this afternoon. one more body bolt to go and the body comes off....hopefully tomorrow.

it really helped getting an extra couple of hands in there tearing it down.

jeepocalypse 12-05-2007 06:57 PM

Very nice platform to start with. excellent documentation

TXST8tj 12-06-2007 07:48 AM was 3 more body bolts, but the body is off!!!! muuahhahaha.
and the drivetrain is out from between the framerails.

may not be the most common method of removing a body....but it worked very well.

TXST8tj 12-06-2007 07:52 AM


Originally Posted by jeepocalypse (Post 167390)
Very nice platform to start with. excellent documentation

thanks! i tend to go picture crazy (especially since my son was born). i figure it can't hurt though. it will be cool to be able to look at the before and afters. when it's all done, i plan to put a little photo album of the build together to show the PO what we did with it. he was nice enough to give it to us, and he is a jeeper himself, so i know he would appreciate it.

and it does seem to be a good platform. the body is in really good overall condition considering its age and life. the frame is solid as can be. no cracks or rot that we are able to see just yet.

debruins 12-06-2007 09:14 AM

looks good,

however that was the easiest and fastest part of the whole build i GUARANTEE IT!

TXST8tj 12-06-2007 09:41 AM

haha...i know that you are right about that. the only things i'm weary about are running the wiring/fuel lines/brake lines. it should be a good learning experience.

debruins 12-06-2007 09:49 AM

haha a LONG one too

my bet on when you guys get finished is about 13-15 months

TXST8tj 12-06-2007 10:41 AM

ahh, come on man...13-15 months?!?! i know he would like it done before then, but i guess we'll see. the fact that it is christmas time has me worried that parts are going to take a lot longer to come in.

i'm trying to locate a T176 or T18 tranny. someone from a local board has offered a d300 for a good price.

erickpl 12-10-2007 10:29 AM

Patrick, you should go ahead and invest in some of the hand tools you'll need, like the brake line benders/flaring tools, which I think you can use on the fuel lines too. You could probably use your TJ as a guide as to how best to do some of the stuff you'll be putting back together.

Badge1236 12-10-2007 11:04 AM

I hope to get mine done before that time frame too but no money and no time make it hard to work on it. Looks like you have a great start.

HkdOnJP 12-10-2007 03:42 PM

hey if you know your doin 33's go to cause they have a deal on procomp mt's mounted on procomp rock crawlers for 650 down from 915 i know its a lil soon but its a nice deal... just an idea

By the way awesome thread

TXST8tj 12-11-2007 12:15 PM

talk about slammin on the brakes!

there is a change in plans!!!

it looks like i will be taking the CJ back. my buddy drove to Kemah yesterday to pick up a fully restored 1964 1/2 mustang with 305 miles on it.....(will have some better pics of that later after i go check it out after work).

as things sit now, i would like to just do a rebuild in stock form keeping it as stock as possible. not a full out restoration b/c this is not a model i care to be that specific with, but i would be using as many OEM type/style parts as possible.

debruins 12-11-2007 02:39 PM

well now when ur finished u will know it is urs and not ahve to share all the, j/k
but if u havent been there yet will be ur best frined, there's some good guys over there, i used to hnag out there, but it just didnt have the same feel as here, it was a little older i think

anyways great forum and great info over there

MCG 12-11-2007 04:06 PM

Nice work!!

TXST8tj 12-12-2007 10:17 AM

thanks for the link debruins. i had seen that link around once before but couldn't remember it.

went to check out the mustang yesterday.

i am going to get my garage cleaned up and move the CJ to the house. of course that would've been easier assembled, but it was still 1000x easier to pull it apart here at work.

TXST8tj 12-17-2007 11:20 AM

the CJ is coming home today. i spent saturday cleaning the garage. it's amazing how much space is in there when everything is put where it belongs.
i plan to stand the tub up on its rearend strapped against the front wall of the garage to get it out of the way since i will only be working on the frame for now. luckily jeeps are short to begin with, but the 5 is especially short so i should have plenty of room to work around it in my small '2 car' garage...with shelves on one side and work bench/tool storage on the other.

it turns out we don't need 4 vehicles at our house with only my wife and i as drivers...guess 4 month olds can't drive, who knew. so, i am selling my ford ranger daily driver, which was given free to me when i sold my 02 TJ. i will be using the money from that to fix up my 'new' TJ a bit to make it my DD. i will hopefully also be picking up an air compressor and a few tools for the garage to aid in my building/rebuilding. some of the things i need for the TJ are a new soft top (bikini only now), waterpump, oil sending unit, battery, and a basic tune-up. i might also try to sneak a small lift and wheels and tires in there. it needs wheels and tires anyway.

debruins 12-17-2007 02:03 PM

see i told u ur never gonnna ge tthe CJ done, now ur looking at lift anf tires for the TJ and doing stuff to it!

TXST8tj 12-18-2007 09:15 AM

haha...oh, it will get done...eventually. i am selling my truck to get rid of one vehicle, which leaves me with the TJ to drive. however, the TJ is not very DD friendly right now. so i will be putting some money into the TJ to get it to a good spot to hold it over for a while. it's kind of a winning solution. in the end i get two jeeps and one of them will get some new toys.

TXST8tj 12-18-2007 09:19 AM

we didn't get the CJ to my house yesterday. someone had the key to unlock the ramps on the trailer to load it up, and they didn't get back to the plant until a while after i leave for the day and i didn't feel like waiting around. so, we're going to move it over today.

i did load up the Range with as much of the loose stuff as i could fit. i got everything but the front seats, the rear seat/hunting stand, and the roll bar. i will load those up in my truck today and my buddy will tow the jeep on trailer. so everything should all be in my garage by this evening.

the pile of parts so far....

TXST8tj 12-19-2007 08:24 AM

we moved some more stuff over yesterday after work. got the seats and rollbar over in the Range...

and the rolling chassis over on the trailer.

we have to make a second trip with the trailer because we obviously didn't get the body over with the frame. everyone else had left for the day and it was only the two of us, so we couldn't lift the body. i also need to load up the engine, tranny, tcase, and gas tank and move those over.

anybody need a washer and dryer or king size mattress????? soon as i get those out of there, i will have an extra 4 feet of work space.

TXST8tj 01-18-2008 09:34 AM

well it's been a month since i've posted anything here. a lot has my garage and in my plans. finally got the garage cleaned out a good deal. now i actually have some space to get some work done and to move around. i also have sold a bunch of stuff from the CJ which has made even more room. and that leads me to my change in plans.
i decided i don't want to restore this CJ. i would like to restore an old jeep someday, but i would rather put my time and energy into restoring a GPW/MB or cj2a or something older with maybe some historical meaning, etc. so, i will be doing a decent little build with this 5. a short list of basics includes, Scout d44s f/r geared and locked, SBC with an auto tranny (t.b.a), atlas or built d300 (probably atlas b/c building a d300 will probably cost the same as an atlas), some fresh springs SOA with the rear shackle mount on the rear crossmember for a few added inches of wheelbase, 35-37" tires, cage, seats, fuel cell, flat tube fenders up front, simple front bumper with winch.

as it sits as of last night.....

i sold the tranny and tcase, front and rear seats, tires and wheels, steering column/wheel, wiring harness, gauges, and some other odds and ends. i still have the engine, axles, fuel tank, radiator, dash, rollbar, suspension, and heater stuff to get rid of before i start cleaning up the frame. i would just like to get that stuff out of the garage before i start making a mess.

a couple weeks ago, i picked up an air compressor and some tools to help with working on both the CJ and the TJ.

debruins 01-18-2008 02:56 PM

so u ahvent even starter yet on the real project :-P
i told you it will take a year and a half!

TXST8tj 01-29-2008 09:00 AM


Originally Posted by debruins (Post 183611)
so u ahvent even starter yet on the real project :-P
i told you it will take a year and a half!

well now that the build is in my hands, it will likely take longer than that....working with my budget vs my buddy's.

TXST8tj 01-29-2008 09:10 AM

basic plans: BTF full width kit up front, BTF CJ2XJ rear stretch in back, Scout d44s front and rear, 4" YJ springs up front and XJ springs out back both SUA, BTF front tube fenders, BTF rocker guards, BTF comp cut rear corners, cage, fuel cell, 36" iroks on beadlocks (tbi), chevy vortec 4.3L, 4L60-E trans, d300 tcase, flat tummy custom skid, winch, storage in rear between fuel cell and tailgate, suspension seats, CJ style dash with AutoMeter style gauges, linered interior, undercoat the underside of the body, tilt steering column, hydro assist.

i like the BTF front and rear kits because they act as bumpers, stronger crossmembers, and spring hangers. i don't want to run any bigger than a 36" tire so i think 4" springs SUA would be a good setup for stability, reliability, and lack of complexity (no traction bar or crossover steering needed). i figure between the 4" springs and the body mods (comp cut and flat fenders), there should be plenty of space for the 36" tires. if not, i could get some longer shackles or a 1" BL. i am not opposed to going SOA, but for what i am wanting, i don't see the need. i like the CJ2XJ kit for the extra few inches of wheelbase. CJ5s need all they can get offroad.

the 36" max tire size also explains the d44s. built d44s should be plenty strong for that size tire and moderate wheeling. aything bigger would be overkill and would just get in the way with that size tire. scout axles are easy to find cheap and are a bit wider which will obviously help in the stability area. they are also pass. drop, so running a d300 in normal form shouldn't be much of an issue.

many will ask why not a V8 if i'm going to go through the trouble. i like the power of the 4.3L. i've run it before in my 97 blazer and it is plenty powerful for what i need. also, it won't be too much power being sent to the d44s. if i should want more power, the aftermarket is plentiful for that engine. i think the shorter block length will also help run the auto tranny and d300 tcase without shifters being in the back of the jeep. one of the best parts is this combo can be picked up dirt cheap.
i want an auto tranny. the 4L60-E is a good auto tranny and bolts right up to the 4.3L.
an adapter will allow me to run a d300 off that tranny.

i am 6'5" and obviously the stock seating setup in the CJ5 is not ideal for people my size. i will run a tilt column, smaller steering wheel, and i will notch the rear fenderwells to allow me to mount the seats a few inches further back. the rear axle relocation should keep the rear tires away from that notch.

this is kind of my general body/suspension inspiration:

TXST8tj 01-29-2008 09:11 AM

just pulled the front axle, front springs, swaybar/links/brakcet, and tcase skid yesterday. started working on getting the steering box off and the rear axle out. still need to remove the steering box, front bumper, motor mounts, rear bumper, rear axle, rear springs, gas tank skid, and some fuel and brake lines. then it will be ready to be sand blasted, which i will probably wait to do until i get the BTF front and rear parts welded on b/c they will need to be sandblasted also before i take the frame in to get powdercoated.

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