The $120 Jeep CJ7 build thread. -
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post #1 of 3 Old 08-21-2017, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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The $120 Jeep CJ7 build thread.

Ever see a $120 Jeep CJ7?

Well, you have now.

Of course, a couple of years, and thousands of dollars from now, she'll be looking way better, oh and running too.

Here's the story. I picked up a 1980 Jeep CJ7 this week that I intend to build as an adventure/overland rig. My skills are limited, so I will have to hire some of the work done, but I want to do as much of it as I can myself. As we all know, there is great satisfaction in standing back and looking at something you built with your own hands. A thing America is losing these days, as is so accurately reported by public figure Mike Rowe. I like him... he's cool in my book.

Anyway, She isn't running now, but she is complete, and near as I can tell, almost 100% stock, (except added fog lights) so that gives me a known starting point. That itself is something lacking in so many old Jeeps, including my current CJ5. The "new": CJ7 has a 258 I-6 and the auto trans. The shifter is on the tilt column with a very nice Lecarra wheel. The dash, seats, everything about the interior and hardtop is complete and in nice shape. The hardtop even has a defroster in the back glass and a rear wiper. The doors are great and the roll up windows work perfectly. The windshield is a goner, and there are some panels on the tub that will require attention.

So I met a fellow combat vet at a 4x4 meet. He also has 3 tours. He also drives a '79 CJ5. (way nicer than mine) He's trying to get out of paying storage on two old Jeeps he was going to build, and he sells me one, and a buddy one. I got mine for $120. Yeah, that's right. $120. I didn't miss a zero. He just wanted me to cover the last months storage fee. He's younger, still in, and single. I'm old, fat, crippled, retired, wife is a teachers aid that has no paychecks in the summer, and we have two kids in college, but man he hooked me up!

Now the CJ5 I already have just happens to have a very strong powertrain from a Dodge truck. It has a built Dodge 360 (Holley 4V, headers, cam, MSD ignition...) , a TF 727 and full width Dana 44 front, and Chrysler 9.25 rear axles with 4 wheel discs. This is on a spring over axle lift that allows for a 35" or 37" tires on the CJ5 tub.

Do I really need to go that high? No.

Is it a bit of a pain to climb in and out of with my injuries? Yes.

Is it fun, and cool? Yes.

The CJ7 has a much more sensible straight six that would be plenty for adventuring around this beautiful nation of ours and I do like how easy it is to climb into and out of as it sits now in stock form. However, she isn't running at the moment and who knows what it would take to get it that way... Besides, I may be old enough to complain about stuff, but I'm still young enough to enjoy the roar of a good old American V-8. That Mopar 360 sounds awesome.

I'll be using the power train from the CJ5. I'll duplicate the spring over setup on the CJ7 as well, but go with YJ springs that are known to soften up the ride and allow for more flex. The Hardtop will give me a more secure vehicle in bad weather travels. It still allows for the normal door off Jeep driving on nice days. I have found Jeep facebook pages in my area that will make it easy to sell off remaining parts from either vehicle I don't use. Of course, I also love Jeep forums like this, and have learned a lot from these places. I hope to learn (and share) more as I go. I will probably need to ask questions when I get stuck on something. Thanks in advance people.

I started today with cleaning out the garage a bit getting ready for teardown of the CJ5. Still have to make some room in the shed, get rid of some stuff. I picked up a couple commercial grade steel shelving units from a college that went under. With my injuries, and inability to handle much heat, I have to do my work in short spurts in cool evenings right now. I'm also under the typical buy a part or two each month budget of a retired disabled soldier. This will be a 2 year project (or more) as I'm taking two vehicles down to the frames.. to build one back up.

I will build the inside up to be user friendly as an adventure/overland vehicle with stuff I've learned traveling on my own, in groups, with the Army, and on sites like this. The outside of the Jeep will be a tribute to my time in the military. (and to my brothers and sisters who serve now) I will do it up in desert sand much like the trucks we had on my last tour in Iraq, but with the bumper numbers from my first tank I had in West Germany back in 1981.

Wish me luck...

You know what I like about most people?
Their dogs.
daddyusmaximus is offline  
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post #2 of 3 Old 08-21-2017, 10:07 PM
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Jealous, people often pay it forward, I find when I help others out it comes back ten fold. You must be one hell of a guy. Congrats and pay it forward!
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post #3 of 3 Old 08-21-2017, 10:09 PM
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Ps, thanks for your service. I own a non profit training and placing service dogs for first responders and current military and vets kiving with service related trauma. I never served, wish I had, but I am a police k9 handler! If you run into anyone needing a pup let me know. We also donretreats and hunts on my farm.
K9kodi is offline  

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