I humbly apologize for not updating things for so long, but I have been very busy with my wife, kids, house projects, and of course working on my Jeep. But a lot, and I mean a lot, of things have been done since I last posted. (By the way, I also apologize for not responding to any posts on this thread, but I do not get notifications on activity so I do not know when people are posting here. Yes, I was at the Maspeth Bank car show and yes, that was Atco.
Anyhow, my Jeep has been undergoing a lot of changes. First, I designed a new top for it. I was not happy with the factory design, taking 45 minutes to put up or take down, and I thought it looked ugly wrapped around the tub all spring and summer long. So I got a top from Rampage-it was very cheap because it was returned to them as defective (a zipper was busted). It was originally designed for the soft doors. I made a surround bracket by bending a threaded rod to the same contour as the full steel door, then attached it using the Bestop lower bracket and 2 hose clamps to attach the top to the roll bar. (I covered it with a piece of rubber hose.) I used the Bestop bows, but modified the brackets and installed a short piece of cable between them so that when the front bow is pulled forward and resting on the roll bar, the rear bow is held up in the proper position to keep the top at the right height over the back seat by the cable. I took it to a local custom top/upholstery shop-McCoys. I worked with one of the fabricators altering it for 2 days, and came up with a top that comes completely off in under 8 minutes and neatly folds up and is stored in a bag that fits in a compartment behind the back seat. (I use snaps I installed around the tub for my cab cover. I needed them to secure the cover since I no longer have the lantern lights or spare tire that it normally is tied to.)
Next, I had to work on the engine. When we tried to adjust the valves, they were loose and some of the springs were very weak (one you could actually compress with your fingers). We installed an Edelbrock top end kit, with Vortec heads and a roller cam (and retrofit kit). We also replaced the noisy timing gears with a double roller chain, a new Melling oil pump and deep sump oil pan, and an aluminum Edelbrock water pump. [Installing them we discovered that the block was not the 4 bolt main .030 over engine I thought it was. So in the spring I plan on doing the bottom end.] We also replaced the fuel line with 1/2 inch stainless steel, cleaned up the engine compartment and put aluminum on the firewall, and rewired the entire car. The front fenders were rusty so we replaced them, and painted the whole car. We made a custom grill to keep leaves and stuff from clogging the radiator. And, best of all, we redid the exhaust using stainless steel, Magnaflow mufflers and electric cutouts.
Right now I am in the midst of installing new black door handles and making new door panels. I just finished one side and have to do the other side now.
Performance wise, it is naturally much faster. Before I did 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds, and now I can do it in under 3.8. That should put me into the 11's. And who knows after the rest of the engine is done.