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Discussion Starter #1
If I'm honest, I wanted to hold off on starting this until I felt like I was somewhere where the project could progress at a fairly reasonable clip. As I stood there in my driveway covered in sweat, rust and dirt, overlooking the chaos I had wrought in my driveway, I decided now is as good a time as any. So without any further nonsense, submitted for your approval (It gets all sorts of 'ready' ahead.. just saying)

For those who didn't see the introduction post, I'll give you the reader's digest version of how we got from having an empty and a filled bank account to the opposite.

A teenager who I worked with bought a farm-fresh, 79 CJ7 from one of his Tech school instructors. Instead of addressing any of the countless problems it was made of, he promptly slapped a home made lift kit and a set of 32"s and drove it to death.

He sold it's remains to another coworker of mine who hauled it home and started to take it apart. Alas, Uncle Sam shipped him some marchin' orders and he had to relocate. Part of his relocating was getting this gem off the property before he moved.



For the cost of a tow I had a 1979 CJ7, title in hand. This is where things started to turn all 'National Lampoonish'.. :blackeye

Well, upon digging into it, I found the engine had given up the ghost, both drive shafts were bent, the frame was entirely home-made from the transfer case back, the tub was non existent, the front axle had less teeth than a crack addict, and on, and on, and on. In fact, the list of parts that were salvageable was significantly shorter than that last statement. When the dust settled and sawzall wound down, I had a engine, transmission, transfer case, and two axles.

I was on the fence about either rebuilding the factory 4.2 or swapping something else in. A '750 pound' engine stand I borrowed from yet a third coworker promptly made the decision for me...



Well. All of this was purely bench-racing without a chassis! A quick scowering of Craigslist landed me a 1978 CJ7 frame.



Things were looking up. Now I needed a tub. I put some feelers out on the old Craigslist, looking for either a CJ7 or a YJ Tub. I get a text from a guy who says he doesn't just have a tub, he has a whole a 1990 Wrangler, basket case! A quick 200 mile round trip out to missouri and back and the deal was struck.




And I might have went overkill on the engine stand...



Well, the only problem with the YJ is its title was a complete mess. Off-road only, salvage, three owners removed from me. But I still had the CJ7's Title and Vin. This is where the Square Headlight guys'll stop reading... :tomatoes:

 

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Discussion Starter #2
So that was then... Now begins the slow collecting of parts... And bonus, a rare, waterfree day in the basement..




I snagged some used 31X10.5X15s for a place holder. If I can turn those well enough, I'll stepped up to the 32's I had originally planned for. Most everything I read said automatic jeeps of this vintage came with 3.55:1 rear gears. I ran my vin through the vin decoder tool at jeep.com and it said I had 3.07s. I figured it was a mistake. The tool said there could be errors going back that far. So I went and crawled under it and sure enough, the axle tag said 3.07. So going to need some gears. 3:55's for the front axle, for whatever reason seem to be expensive as all hell. But I managed to score some used ones out of an 89 cherokee off of Fleabay.



One of the few things that has gone right/actually worked out was the transmission from the CJ7. It is an actual Wide-range Borg Warner T-18 with the 6.32:1 low gear (I checked the serial number against Novak's website and then stuffed it in low and counted the turns. Not taking anything for granted anymore. Of course it was still encrusted in the... 'agriculture' from the farm it was dragged off of.



Theres a bolt in there somewhere..



And the old Iron Dana 20 removed...



Everything was going to well, I decided to remove the NP231 from the automatic. The good news, it was 23 spline! So either a Novak or Advance Adapters piece will work. The bad news, this was in the tail housing/adapter between it and the automatic transmission..





And this is the input shaft and seal on the NP231. Something is trying to escape. I'm guessing the wire is the remains of a seal's spring.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Back to craigslist... now this was actually kind of cool. These popped up about 5 miles outside of town and the guy selling them turned out to be an older gentleman who had a photoalbum of Jeeps he had rebuilt over the years and a garage of random jeep awesomeness. So that turned into an hour long conversation. He told me to hang onto his number..



Also, as it FINALLY STOPPED RAINING for 24 hours out here in lovely Kansas, decided to dive into it. removing the roof, and the tub actually only took about 90 minutes. The ministry of finance there, overlooking the progress.




I keep seeing everyone elses builds in these awesome garages... or at least garages. I just have a shed that knows somebody. As it stands, if I lift the jeep to put 31s on it, I don't think it'll clear the door. But thats the next project...
 

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Nice progress. Keep the updates coming.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Got the axles off. It was all going too easily, so I decided to break the two bolts that held the steering box/swaybar assembly to the chassis, instead. Flame wrench...



Also took the opportunity to drain stand the chassis up and remove about 20 pounds of freakin' sand from the chassis. I found a shop about 40 minutes away that can both sandblast and powder coat the chassis. I'm ditching the track bars, pondering if I want to hack the brackets off the chassis.



 

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Keep up the good work! I started on frame of resto on a farm use jeep about a year ago...she should be on the road in another month!
Jeep on brother!
 

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Good god. You should be made a saint of jeeps. Sub'd
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Welp, if it's going to look 'CJish'... ought to ride CJish... not like the track bars were going back on anyways... I stopped when it got dark for the sake of neighbor relations...



And a soothing salve of black rattlecan to keep the it rust away until we can get it to the powder coaters.

 

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Discussion Starter #9
Kind of in a holding pattern. I'm going to try to get the chassis in for powder coating next week. In the meantime, I figure I should start getting the axles dissassembled and cleaned up. Also, brown Santa brought me a nice, standard transmission column with none of that pesky tilt nonsense. Seeing my old one was both a 3 on the tree... and freakin' melted...



Also took a few minutes to drag some of the stuff I won't be using out of the garage and put it on craigslist (Mostly I'm tired of having to climb through my garage like John McClane through a duct). Just for shytes and giggles, lets see if I can scrounge up the cost of powder coating the chassis before the bill is due. :whacky: (I can totally afford it either way, I'm not that much of a jerk).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Got a little distracted last night after I started monkeying with the rear axle. I had more time to dig into it tonight..

Once you ditch 'Track', you never go back.. :tomatoes:


Now I need a new carrier and set of 3.55's for the rear. I'm waffling on if I want to bother with some alloy axle shafts for it.



Also when my boss went to lunch I may have thrown the T-18's bellhousing in the parts washer. That Ozzy parts washer... yeah.. I'm pretty sure that's just piss warm vinegar in that thing.. :puke:

 

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Discussion Starter #12
Side Tracked...

I'll admit, this has nothing to *Technically* do with the build. But it is interesting (At least to me, anyways). I managed to find a new home for the CJ7 frame and put some powdercoat money in my pocket... I dug it out of the garage and laid it along side the YJ frame. That was when I really started to notice the differences between the two frames. And while they stood there momentarily, like two ships passing in the night, I bust out the camera and took some snaps. If it isn't obvious, the YJ is the black frame, the '7 is the primer gray one..

Most obviously first, the YJ's frame is wider..



Front leaf spring perch. The CJ's, besides being smaller, are held on by 2 rivets in the crotch and a couple questionable spots welds.



Rear cross member where the tub mounts. The YJ has way more material and bracing.



Front shock mounts. The CJ was a narrow track (Or so I was told). Way more beef in that pesky wrangler..



Excuse the sideways. Photobucket isn't wanting to rotate them. This is the front of the chassis, leading up to the cross member that supports the grill. You can see how much thicker the YJ chassis is, besides not being two pieces of stamped sheet metal stuffed together..



Rear shock mount is nearly twice as wide on the YJ.



Rear leaf spring perch. The YJ being solid bent piece of box steel, the CJ... well.... there sure is a lot of welding at least..



And lastly, the rear of the chassis leading up to the rear bumper support. The CJ being the thin one on the left.



Don't get me wrong! I like CJ's just fine. Hell, I was trying to build one, thats why I have the chassis. But the next time some geezer's tells you your wrangler's all soft and can't hack it you could be like..

 

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Discussion Starter #14
Been a while since my last post. Got a lot going on and haven't had a chance to get much further with the Jeep. For what it's worth, the Chassis is currently getting sandblasted and powder coated. I'm expecting to get it back this week.

So I called a local shop, asked how much to swap the Dana 35 from 3.07 to 3.55. Gears, carrier, install kit, labor, $750. So I went and picked up a good, used carrier, ring and pinion and ordered an install kit. Called back and asked how much to put it together. $500... After years of working in a shop, I should have seen that coming.:banghead: So I used one of my 'I know a guys' and I'm waiting to hear back from another guy. If not, I'm guessing I'm going to learn how to set up a ring and pinion on my own. (Totally open for pointers)



In the mean time, might as well clean up and spraybomb the axles. I'm not one of those immaculate undercar guys, this'll be a driver. But It can at least not be rust speckled.




And a couple days ago, the Brown Santa stopped by and dropped off these... some 2.5" Procomp leaf springs..

 

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Discussion Starter #15
This is a completely shameless plug. IF you are in North East Kansas or even the Kansas City Area, and you need something powder coated, Hobby Monster Customs in Tonganoxie Kansas should be your first stop. The people are awesome, the prices are reasonable, and this thing is sexy as all hell... :jawdrop:




And here it is tetrising my hard top precariously! Because this couldn't end badly..



Because my driveway has become even more cramped! We got a phone call last night that my brother's stolen motorcycle had been found. We decided my driveway was safer than his (We clearly have historical precedence on this...). Of course now it looks like a Ratbike from the old Road Rash 3D Videogame.. :puke:



And in case anyone was wondering, I managed to raise nearly 90% of the cost of the powder coating by selling parts I won't be using on Craigslist.. Which brings me to another point I wanna make real quick. Craigslist has been as much a part of this project as my Horrible Freight electric impact gun. I've done a lot of business on CL over the years, and met a lot of shady people and questionable humans and had strange meetings in parts of town I'd rather not go. But literally, every single person I've dealt with on CL regarding Jeeps or Jeep Parts.. has just been a class act that I have had no problem giving my address out to. Also met another forum member. And everyone I've met, we always talk Jeep for half an hour. Must be a Jeep thing... :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It never @#$%ing ends...

Sadly, since my last post, which mostly consisted of setbacks... My luck hasn't improved terribly much. To the point where the my Saner Half is asking if my family had pissed off Gypsies at some point. First, the Jeep Stuff.. I bit the bullet and took both axles down to 4X4 Land in Topeka to have the ring and pinions set up. They seemed cool with me handing them loose axles that were missing pieces (In my defense, they did say all they needed were the axle housings and the carriers/install kits.. thats what they got :whistling: )

Which left me to deal what we'll call 'everything'. So I decided to start with the U-joints. Now I know full well the title of this Wrangler says it has less than 35,000 miles on it at the time it suffered its... we'll call it a malfunction. And there are things that I see that support that number. The brake pads/shoes are thick as texas toast, there is very little rust on the body or frame, the bushings were tight. Nothing looks like it was leaking too badly. Then I find things like this.



Also for a 35K mile vehicle, the shocks on it were surprisingly rough and I mean enough sand poured out of the thing to fill Tut's Tomb. I'm beginning to think the vehicle drove off the dealership lot, across the street, into the woods and never saw pavement again... which would explain why it caught fire...

Brown Santa, making every day Christmas, dropped off this... :D



Which brings me to my to this handy bit of information. Evidently the kit is designed to work with factory leafsprings. The bushings included in the kit for the leaf springs eyes on the shackle side are a 1.25" OD. The bushings that go in the springs that connect to the frame are 1.5" OD and require you push out the metal bushing sleeve. Now the 1.25" Leaf Spring Bushing will not work with my ProComp leaf Springs, those take the 1.5" OD Bushing. If you want to run aftermarket springs with the 1.5" eyeholes, you'll need to get two boxes of these...



These are the 1.5" OD, 1.2" barrel length with the bevel cut on the outside to work with the shackle (Rather than get shaved off when things get all Flexy). They're actually for Chevy Fullsize/K5 Blazers, but fit legit. :thumb:

And just to round off my collection of Setbacks. Remember how I posted that my brother's motorcycle was stolen and recovered and now residing in my :censored: way? Well, three days after we got it back, my 63 year old Father's Jeep was stolen out of a handicapped parking spot, because if you are going to be the world's largest sack of crap, go hard, right? Well, it too was recovered!



And running like ragged ass.... and painted what appears to be with latex house paint?... :puke: And because things were going so swimmingly... this happened on the way home from the freakin' impound lot..



:banghead: So now the driveway has one completely disassembled Jeep.. one stolen/recovered motorcycle.. and one stolen/recovered jeep.. Woman's gonna disown me if I don't un#$%@ this monkey... :tomatoes:
 

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Haha looks like your dad is going to get an insurance check!
I like how you compared the 2 frames side by side and will be watching your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I called my father over to give me a hand today. After 5 hours of cursing and sweating and herniating ourselves, this is what's sitting in the driveway. I just finished mounting the fuel tank/skidplate before the thunderstorm rolled in and called it day..



Got both axles back from 4x4 Land. Both are now equipped with 3.55:1's (Anyone want a set of 3.07s? Figured I'd ask... :puke: ) New seals in both, the front and the rear. New carrier bearings. New U joints in the front axle, new ball joints, top and bottom, new bearing hubs in the steering knuckles. The tie rods seem tight. I cleaned them up and regreased them.



New Rancho Galvinized U bolts, front and rear, Pro-Comp 2.5" lift springs. I refurbished the factory shackles and epoxy coated them, and sitting on some energy suspension bushings. Now things are getting expensive. Going to need to order an advance adapter's kit so I can have the T18 bolted to the NP231. The adapter has a mounting foot to bolt to the cross member, But I have the sneaking suspicion that the T18's length is going to put that foot nowhere near the factory position on the cross member. :banghead: Once I get that figured out then the crossmember will get sandblasted and powder coated to match the chassis.
 

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great thread, looking forward to reading more soon. subscribed.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Oh yeah. And things I learned: VINEGAR IS AMAZING AT REMOVING RUST. I mixed one gallon of Cleaning vinegar (Not cooking) And two gallons of tap water in a bucket and walked away from it for 24 hours. The rust just sloughs off. Some light scrubbing with a brush (Either nylon or brass) and the part comes out looking awesome. You need to clean the part, make sure theres no dirt or grease first. It will soften paint, but slowly. Bare metal works the best.



Thats just after spending a night in $2.60 worth of vinegar. Best of all, you can just dispose of how you see fit because it's just vinegar and iron oxide.
 
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