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Unread 10-18-2011, 09:11 PM   #1
KingSmoth
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1978 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Augusta, GA
Posts: 155
1978 CJ5 Build - Project Rolling Death Trap

Hey everyone, I thought I would join in the fun and start up my own build thread.
On May 6, 2006 I purchased my CJ5(three years to the day after buying my XJ). I had been wanting one for a very long time, but didn't consider it to be a practical purchase. I went to work one morning and a co-worker asked me if I was still looking for one. I told her I decided against buying one, but she said her nephew was selling his and maybe I would want to see it for fun.
I drove by his house after work and looked it over. Obviously it was sitting in my driveway the next morning...
Looks pretty nice at first glance. I don't care for yellow, but it works for Jeeps

The interior needed some work, but that wasn't a dealbreaker

The rat's nest 350 is what truly sold me. It is an older block(out of a 78 K10), but it flat-out hauls and sounds mean


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2002 WJ Overland - stock
1978 CJ5 - 350, 34's
1990 XJ Laredo - sold...
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Unread 10-18-2011, 09:28 PM   #2
KingSmoth
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1978 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Augusta, GA
Posts: 155
The guy I bought the 5 from was by no means a guru with a wrench, so he said he had a good friend of his do all of the work for him over the years that he owned it. He told me he took the 5 to a shop to have the 350 and both axles rebuilt, then had his friend swap in the 350 and do the paint job. He told me he was aware of minor rust in the floorboards, but of nothing more. The body looked superb, so I had zero concerns about rust. If only I knew then what I know now...
I pulled the seats and the carpet out after purchase to take a look at the floor.
pan under driver seat

driver floor

pan under passenger seat

passenger floor

transmission hump - owner told me they were out wheeling one day, caught something around the driveshaft and it spun around and tore into the floor

The only other issue I noticed right away was a patch weld on the front driver side frame rail, with one bumper bolt mount torn away. The PO told me they tied around the front bumper instead of using the tow hooks and ripped a bolt out


A good friends dad is a welder and told me it would be no problem to repair the flooring.
I was happy with my purchase but couldn't drive it very often due to the excessively loud exhaust(open headers at the time). The 5 pretty much sat parked until June 2007, barring the occasional drive to work to keep it running.
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2002 WJ Overland - stock
1978 CJ5 - 350, 34's
1990 XJ Laredo - sold...
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Unread 10-18-2011, 10:00 PM   #3
KingSmoth
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1978 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Augusta, GA
Posts: 155
I moved in June 2007, so I had to drive the Jeep a few miles down the road to my new place. Once there, it sat parked until October 2009. I'm surprised that neither management nor the neighbors ever complained...

Once I moved in October 2009, the Jeep was parked in my driveway once again, sitting until this Spring when I finally had the money to get to work on it. The first thing I did was buy a new set of tires to replace the bald and dry-rotted MT's. A friend sold me his set of 34" Swampers for $150. He had only put 1000 miles on them before deciding to upgrade to 37's! I also had new exhaust pipes put on(Purple Hornies) and replaced the ignition lock cylinder. I broke off so many keys in the original...

I then went on a spending spree:
bought a khaki top, though I'm thinking I may sell it and just buy new windows for my black top

custom stainless dash, going to go with a different gauge layout

ignition wires, spark plugs, Auto Meter Ultra-Lite gauges(speedo, tach, fuel level, water temp, oil pressure, voltmeter), replacements for all exterior lenses, LED's for dash indicators and Herculiner for the floor. I also purchased a new battery tray and battery, which are not pictured

stainless tranny tunnel cover, T150/D20 shifter boots/knobs and three-point seatbelts. The D20 shifter stuff was a waste since I decided I'm going to go with a twin-stick setup

brake booster/MC out of a YJ, power gearbox out of another CJ, power steering pump

H4 headlamps, body lift kit and all new bushings to replace everything that was rotted(as will be seen shortly)


I didn't have much direction in where I was going to start, really just intended on doing bits and pieces of work whenever time was available. Repairing the floorboards was the primary concern, so I enlisted the aid of a trusted mechanic friend. I took the Jeep to his house so he could assess the situation - notice the driver seat that mounts to...a hole?

The next day he brings me his camera with tons of pictures from where he jump-started disassembly and found issues. This is pretty much where the project went from "repair and ride" to "semi-restoration".
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2002 WJ Overland - stock
1978 CJ5 - 350, 34's
1990 XJ Laredo - sold...

Last edited by KingSmoth; 10-18-2011 at 10:11 PM..
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Unread 10-18-2011, 10:19 PM   #4
KingSmoth
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Augusta, GA
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Following are some of the pictures he took before disassembly. These are things I obviously overlooked during my inspection prior to purchase. I must have been way too overjoyed...
Crack in the rear crossmember

Rotted body mount support channel

one of only two body mounts that was actually attached to anything

view from under the drivers seat

body mount, sort of

rotted rear passenger body mount

rotted rear driver body mount

this one is my favorite


On August 26, 2011 Project Rolling Death Trap was underway...
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2002 WJ Overland - stock
1978 CJ5 - 350, 34's
1990 XJ Laredo - sold...
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Unread 10-18-2011, 10:31 PM   #5
KingSmoth
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The first day of work was very productive. I was initially discouraged upon seeing just how much work we were getting into, while my friend became increasingly excited about how much he would get to use his blades and welder.








Shifter linkage is worn out, I will upgrade to a twin stick setup

awesome brake line work

the body was resting on the fuel hose, thus the hose has been severed all this time...

the body mounts that were actually attached had to be cut off, so the remnants will have to be dealt with
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1978 CJ5 - 350, 34's
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Unread 10-18-2011, 10:41 PM   #6
kphimself
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You got alot of work ahead of you. Thats great your doing a body off, its so much more work but well worth it. I can't wait to see the progress.
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Unread 10-18-2011, 10:43 PM   #7
KingSmoth
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We continued on the first day by cleaning up the underside of the body and the firewall





Up to this point, my friend was skeptical but I felt the body was pretty solid. While working we happened to knock off a chunk of Bondo. This was the result:

The Bondo in this section was up to 1/2" thick. There seems to have been a moderate side impact that should have been cut out and patched, but was well-covered by Bondo instead. This would prove to only be the beginning of the Bondo mayhem.
Next, we cut out the rotted mounts in the rear and cut access holes in the wheelwells to remove the inner rotted supports


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2002 WJ Overland - stock
1978 CJ5 - 350, 34's
1990 XJ Laredo - sold...

Last edited by KingSmoth; 10-18-2011 at 11:06 PM..
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Unread 10-18-2011, 10:58 PM   #8
KingSmoth
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Location: Augusta, GA
Posts: 155
We took about two weeks off before resuming work. I don't currently have the pics uploaded of the floors completely cut out, but I have some pics of the work itself.
First work to be done was cutting out and replacing the busted side panel. All weld seams will be touched up and ground before completion

Fabbing the new floor pans and supports out of 16g steel

Passenger floorpan

transmission hump has since been straightened out, holes are from broken spot welds when removing crossmember support



floor completed
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2002 WJ Overland - stock
1978 CJ5 - 350, 34's
1990 XJ Laredo - sold...
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Unread 05-04-2012, 01:30 PM   #9
KingSmoth
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Location: Augusta, GA
Posts: 155
It has been a long time since I last updated this thread...

Rot cut out

View from the outside

Other well with rot cut out




These pics are not up-to-date. The tub is nearly completed, though some welds still need to be ground down. Hopefully I will get those pics sometime this weekend.

Originally we were going to perform major repairs on my frame. Luckily, I came across a CJ5 frame on CL, made the two hour drive to check it out and brought it home for $150. Money very well spent, as this frame turned out to be completely solid with the exception of one torn front bumper mount hole, seen in the pic. I don't need them, but the seller also included the steering gearbox, factory hitch bar and gas tank. I also picked up a set of rocker trim that I will probably end up selling.

Bringing the frame home

rocker trim

after three hours with a grinder

first coat of rust reformer

7 cans of rust reformer and a gloss black paint job later, the frame is done

drivetrain removed from old frame

More pics to follow this weekend
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2002 WJ Overland - stock
1978 CJ5 - 350, 34's
1990 XJ Laredo - sold...
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Unread 05-04-2012, 05:57 PM   #10
KingSmoth
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1978 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Augusta, GA
Posts: 155
More shots of the new sheet metal, still needs to be touched up but getting close

supports were done the same on both sides

This entire area had been pulled back at some point - we straightened it and welded it back together

The other side is done the same way. Still need to do the cutouts for fuel filler and taillights


Engine on the stand


T-150/D-20

Radiator

Bolted up the rear axle so we could wheel the frame around



More to come
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2002 WJ Overland - stock
1978 CJ5 - 350, 34's
1990 XJ Laredo - sold...
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Unread 03-13-2014, 12:43 PM   #11
KingSmoth
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1978 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Augusta, GA
Posts: 155
It has been a long time since I updated this thread. Since the previous update we have put the drivetrain back in, finished the bodywork, put the body on, coated the underbody with POR-15 and the interior with Herculiner. I bought a roll cage from another CJ-5, but it needs modification to the middle mounting plates to mount into mine. I have just a couple pics right now, still trying to locate the others that I have taken with various devices over the past two years...

Blurry pic of the initial test fitment


Roll cage


We expect to have it road ready this summer. Will update once I come across the other pics.
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2002 WJ Overland - stock
1978 CJ5 - 350, 34's
1990 XJ Laredo - sold...
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