Jeep Wrangler Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I’ve had this Jeep since forever, and it’s seen several iterations of modification. It was my first Jeep, and unlike so many others that have come and gone in the interim, this one will never leave the stable. Here are a few pics from the glory days:







Back in 1998, I ordered a brand new 1999 Ford Super Duty as a tow rig, and after a rollover in the flatty I did some rudimentary body work and sprayed it silver to match the new truck:



When the truck wouldn’t hold it all, the flatty was put to work hauling fire wood, too!







I met my wife-to-be in the spring of 2000, and as much as she tolerated my habits, the lack of any creature comforts in the flatty was just too much to bear, so I did some fabrication work on the side in trade for a soft top:



Another couple years rolled by, and the next thing I knew there were cribs and baby seats everywhere… The poor flatty was pushed into a corner and my efforts were dedicated to building more family-friendly vehicles, ranging from XJ’s to Early Broncos to JK Unlimiteds, and most recently our 2004 LJ. During all that time, I did manage to sneak in a few hours here and there on my beloved flatty, and I’ll work on updating this thread to show some of the progression and bring it up to current status.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Somewhere around 2005, I decided it was time to pull the motor and give it a thorough cleaning:



While the motor was out, I took some time to evaluate the frame… The years had not been kind, and after several repairs and patches it simply wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. Out came the hot wrench and the glue gun, and a new front frame section was fabricated and grafted into place, utilizing a shackle-reverse setup to provide a slightly better ride:





At the same time, I was parting out an XJ and decided to use the power steering gearbox, pump, column and seats:







I stood back and took a look at the mess I had made, and decided that I wasn’t too happy with the overall aesthetic of the front end, so the tools came back out to dress it up a bit. I put some speed holes in the front bumper, mitered the frame corners and wrapped them in plate, added some corner gussets to the front spring hangers (complete with more speed holes), and added front shock hoops:









While I had the tools out, it was time to address some long overdue body protection. So I rolled some corner guards and bent up some rocker plates complete with a footpad that has, you guessed it, more speed holes:





 

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Life got in the way, and the flatty was neglected for a few more years. Finally sometime in 2011, I spent a couple weekends and got it back on the road. My boy was also starting to take an interest in the hobby:





After one particularly aggravating trip to the ice cream shop, I had finally had enough of the grossly underpowered L-head, so I yarded it out and sold it to a nice guy up the way that was doing a stock resto-mod on his flat fender. It was time to hunt down a new power plant… As luck would have it, I had access to a 1983 Ford Ranger that had the perfect donor: the ubiquitous Ford 2.3L:



Time to start figuring out how to make it work in its new home (those of you still paying attention may also notice the change in rollcage and seats, but we’ll get to that later):



Getting the engine to its happy place required a slight relocation of the transmission and transfercase, so some frame modifications were made to properly relocate the drivetrain mounting crossmember because it wanted to share space with one of the body mounts:



With that handled, I rolled the chassis outside and gave it a good bath and a fresh coat of black paint:





I cleaned up and resealed the motor:



Among many other things, I wanted to convert to hanging pedals, power assisted brakes, and a hydraulic clutch setup. I stole the pedal pack and brake booster assembly from an XJ:





After some trial and error, I settled on a clutch master and slave set from an early 80’s CJ. Since the T-90 clutch was never offered or intended to be operated by hydraulic means, I had to fabricate a mount for the slave cylinder:





The final bit of “heavy” fabrication for the chassis was a way to support the radiator, because unlike the newer Jeeps these are frame mounted on flat fenders. A simple cross brace was added at the bottom, but up top I spent way too much time coming up with an upper radiator support, complete with more speed holes:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
While the engine swap was going on, I also decided it was time for a makeover of the cage and seating, because I now have to haul 4 people to the ice cream shop… A fortuitous trip to the local wrecking yard yielded a complete set of seats out of a YJ that had suffered an engine fire, so I set about the business of putting them in place and surrounding them with new tubing.

Wanting to maintain as much space as I can in the pedal box area, I tied the cage A-pillars into the dash which is arguably stronger than the floorpan:



I wanted to ensure the rear seat passengers were as protected as possible, so a “family style” cage was mocked up using 2” x 0.120” tubing:







With the cage taking shape, it was time to address the seat mounts:



And the last mockup before it all comes out for final welding:



And that brings the entire project up to date as of early January, 2016. The goal is to have it back on the trails this spring, and I’ll try to keep this thread updated as things progress.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
When I mentioned that I was done with the "heavy" fabrication, I had completely forgotten about the rear crossmember/bumper... The original piece was wrinkled up pretty good from years of abuse and was just ugly, so I lopped it off and started over with a piece of 2"x4"x0.120" wall box tubing and some 1.5"x0.120" round:





Now I believe I'm done with the "heavy" fabrication :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Still plugging away and making slow, but steady, progress toward getting her back on the road. Wiring is something that I have a special kind of hate for, but at this point I’m over the hump and we’ll call it 75% complete:



I picked up a new set of gauges:



And here is the Duraspark II ignition setup roughed in on the firewall:



Still have a lot of wiring cleanup to do, but I want to get everything routed and tested before I get too far along with the details of loom and clamps to really tidy it up…

For the mechanical side of things, the original FoMoCo power steering pump bracket, for whatever reason, had the pump hanging way out to the driver side, so much so it was wanting to share space with the shock mount. That wasn’t going to get it done, so a new pump bracket had to be conceived. At the same time, I wanted to convert to a Saginaw style pump because I already had a set of power steering hoses from the original conversion on the L-Head several years back. With little more than a few rough measurements in hand to define the working space in the engine bay, I headed to the junk yard. What happened next is nothing short of a miracle… After about 20 minutes of popping hoods and scratching my head trying to figure out what I could make work, I literally stumbled on a Saginaw pump and bracket laying on the ground. The aluminum mounting bracket was very compact and had two mounting holes that looked like they would be super easy to work with, and the overall size of the combined pump and bracket would easily fit in my working dimensions. Best of all, it was already pulled out of the donor vehicle (a 2001 Chevy K1500 with the 5.3L). So, it rode back home with me and after a couple minutes of ciphering and a few more minutes with the glue gun, some simple adapter brackets were made and voila:



To finish things off, I had to make a new mount for the alternator, and then figure out a belt routing that didn’t interfere with the radiator hoses and would allow for good belt wrap on all pulleys. This one took a little more time, but I’m satisfied with the outcome:



So now I’ve got a fully dressed motor that uses off-the-shelf parts to help ensure I can get replacement parts in the middle of nowhere. Next up will be to plumb the front brakes and fuel system, and then finish up at least the engine bay wiring so I can fire it off and ensure things are ready for final assembly!
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top