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jrussblues 05-20-2012 07:31 PM

78 cj7
I'm picking this guy up Friday and will have tons of questions as I start to rebuild it. The body will need to be replaced but it's coming with an extra tub that's in perfect shape. The frame and drivetrain are pretty solid though, frame only has minor surface rust believe it or not. Here's some pics, I've owned a yj, a jk and now have an lj so I've never dealt with the older cj stuff. The guy said it was originally a Levi's edition and it has a 3 speed and a 360 (which I assume is a modified 304). Anyway, any help here would be great. Also, any potential problems to look at would be helpful as well.

Cj7otr 05-20-2012 08:09 PM

CJs never came with a 360. So, it's either a 304 or the engine's been swapped (that's not a bad thing, but something to be aware of). Based on the pics, the undercarriage looks like solid stock. So, if your replacement tub is good than a lot of any non-mechanical problems will be solved. If it were me I'd remove the old tub, fix up any mechanical issues/tune up, then put the new body on. Sounds like a great project.

jrussblues 05-20-2012 09:35 PM

Can solid stock handle 38's

Cj7otr 05-20-2012 11:30 PM

Wow! Seriously? 38's are huge. I've never done more than 33's, and I've only seen guys realistically go to 35's. Just to get a good fit for my 33's I added a 4 1/2" suspension lift. So, I've added new: springs (YJ width), shocks, extended brake lines, axles (I went to wide tracks since I went with larger tires), larger ring and pinion gears, one piece axles in rear, lockers (front and rear), 6 bolt lock out hubs, heavy duty drive shafts, dropped pitman arm, t-case/transmission pan lowering kit, and other smaller things. So, for me, just about everything below the frame has been replaced or modified to accommodate larger tires.

CJ-John 05-21-2012 06:21 AM

No would be the short answer but really do you need them?

4Jeepn 05-21-2012 06:40 AM

You sure its a 1978? There does not appear to be a rear marker light on the side of the rear panel or perhaps is just gone on both sides. Looks a a big project.

jrussblues 05-21-2012 07:15 AM


Originally Posted by johninmichigan
No would be the short answer but really do you need them?

The 38's are already on there. More of a question around what do I need to look at because of them. I'll just assume everything.

jrussblues 05-21-2012 07:16 AM


Originally Posted by 4Jeepn
You sure its a 1978? There does not appear to be a rear marker light on the side of the rear panel or perhaps is just gone on both sides. Looks a a big project.

I know jack squat about cj's, what should I look for?

CJ-John 05-21-2012 04:42 PM

Have you identified what rear end you have yet? I'm guessing it came with a AMC 20 like my 79 CJ and a dana 30 front with a dana 20 transfer case. they tell me the internals on the rear end are good it's the axle shafts that are junk. but it's really how you drive it and how it's been driven in the past. It does look like it's not had the best of care. So yes when you have the tub off you'll want to take a look at everything (and trade someone the 38's for something like 33's maybe) but that's all up to you. just my 2 cents

jrussblues 05-21-2012 04:49 PM

I was actually planning on dropping down to a 33 or a 35, the axle shafts arent a concern to me as I will likely be replacing them. I am going to tear it down to the frame, I just want to take care of a lot of the look stuff first and get it road worthy. After that I'll start getting it offroad worthy. How much lift will be needed to fit 33's or 35's on a cj? I probably will not be going back with cutting the fenders.

Cj7otr 05-21-2012 05:18 PM

If it came with a V8 and an automatic, it's probably a Quadratrac setup. Is your rear differential centered or offset? Something to look at.
I have a rubicon express 4 1/2" lift with YJ front springs on a reversed shackle setup. After about a year it settled into more of a 3 1/2" lift. And I run 33x12.5's with good clearance (on a wide track). I don't have a body lift, just suspension (don't the the logic in a body lift myself).
Just my 2 cents...

Dempsey 05-21-2012 05:22 PM

Those pics bring back memories... :)

You will need 4" of lift for 33" tires if you aren't going to cut.

Looks like the 360 has some sort of HEI dizzy so thats a nice upgrade.

As far as getting it road worthy expect to spend some money on the front end.

I assume it has the stock narrow track dana 30 front and amc 20 rear with 3.54 gears. If you install one pc rear axles and new front shafts I would say 35" tires would be ok but would be the maximum and a increased risk in breakage but 35" tires from a driveability stand point will be difficult to impossible to match compared to your LJ and JK.

I would suggest reinforcing your steering with a new shaft, bracket and adding a brace. Also looks like the power steering doesn't have a belt. Does it have power brakes. I assume it doesn't.

jrussblues 05-21-2012 05:29 PM

No power brakes, and test driving with no power steering on 38's is interesting. It does have front disc.
What wheel offset would be recommended?

4Jeepn 05-21-2012 06:21 PM


Originally Posted by jrussblues (Post 2388799)
I know jack squat about cj's, what should I look for?

well with the fenders trimed they might not be there.. but on each side of the rear panels there should be a red marker light about 1"x5". Later model years did away with it.

jrussblues 05-25-2012 10:36 PM

Pulled the trigger, gonna be many hours before this things ready for the road. But it's a project so should be fun.

Sasquatch 4x4 05-26-2012 12:17 AM

Looks like a load of fun!

Dempsey 05-26-2012 09:34 AM

Welcome to the Cj club! :punk:

jrussblues 05-30-2012 07:16 AM

Tearing it down, slowly...

jrussblues 05-31-2012 09:34 PM

Dash is out and fenders are out. Np435 should be here on the 5th so I'm gonna try to get the body off by then. Making every attempt to salvage as much as possible but I'd be screwed without an angle grinder.

jrussblues 06-01-2012 10:18 PM

Why not turn it into a build thread....

Last things to remove before the tub comes out are - starter solenoid an the gas tank, probably gonna remove the rear bumper as well. Have to get in touch with Novak and order my adapter for the 435 which should be here fun.

DIRTTY DONS 4X4 LJ 06-02-2012 12:21 PM

5 Attachment(s)
This is my 1978 I'm about to start on this week.

Attachment 128258

Attachment 128257

Attachment 128259

Attachment 128260

Attachment 128261

jrussblues 06-08-2012 01:33 PM

Here's where we stand now. Still waiting in my transmission but got it down to the frame, looks like it will need a little tlc on 3 of the body mounts but otherwise solid.

jrussblues 06-12-2012 10:32 PM

Not much progress as ups has lost my transmission?!?
I did manage to order a rear crossmember reinforcement from genright and I've got the steering column half way torn apart.
Progress is slow...for now.

kevincessna 06-13-2012 11:04 PM

I have a78 with the 4.2 little rough but for a woods toy its perfect

jrussblues 06-14-2012 01:27 AM

Exhaust before and after

jrussblues 07-30-2012 07:06 PM

Alright. The rear is almost done. With new brakes, wheels, tires, leaf springs, one piece axles and cross member. It seems like every win comes with a's a list.
1. 4.56 a traklock diff
2. Electronic fuel pump in a new tank...without a filter or regulator in line.
3. 11" rear brakes...finding a rear parking brake clamp for 11" brakes. (They don't exist, having one fabricated).

I'm pretty pleased with the progress so far and I've gotten the opportunity to get some cool new tools like a pressure washer, I'm on my third angle grinder, and a mig welder.

jrussblues 07-31-2012 08:45 PM

With pic

tomthbomb 08-14-2012 05:51 PM


Originally Posted by 4Jeepn (Post 2388755)
You sure its a 1978? There does not appear to be a rear marker light on the side of the rear panel or perhaps is just gone on both sides. Looks a a big project.

All stock 1976-1986 CJ-7s had front and rear side marker lights.

4Jeepn 08-14-2012 08:34 PM


Originally Posted by tomthbomb (Post 2684910)
All stock 1976-1986 CJ-7s had front and rear side marker lights.

In about 81 or 82 the side lite behind the flare was removed and then made one with the rear taillight...

jrussblues 08-14-2012 09:20 PM

Narrow track axles/shock mounts and I just pulled out a t150. If its not a 78 its pretty close.

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