1985 CJ-7 Laredo Restoration - JeepForum.com
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Unread 07-26-2013, 11:32 AM   #1
GFox
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1985 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: milford, oh
Posts: 163
1985 CJ-7 Laredo Restoration

I figured I'd move my restoration to this forum rather than keep it on Blogger so more people might see it. I'll post pics and progress and maybe a little helpful tidbit or two I lear along the way. Until I get everything moved over, you can take a look here: http://feedthejeep.blogspot.com/ Bear in mind this is nothing like some of the quality builds I've seen here (Keith) as my time and budget nor expertise would allow such a thing. But I should end up with a reasonably priced, solid, good looking Jeep that I won't be afraid to drive for fear of getting banged up or dirty. Enjoy!

img_2013.jpg

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Unread 07-26-2013, 11:34 AM   #2
GFox
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Barn Find
Well, not exactly. Actually the Jeep belonged to my friend's father. He was the second owner, purchasing it back in the mid eighties. At one point he considered selling it and I went so far as to create a video highlighting it's features in hopes of persuading my mom of helping out financially. Mom never went for it and he decided not to sell it anyway. I ran across that video a few years back. If I can find it I'll post it here.

Fast forward to 2012. A bit older and worse for the wear (aren't we all), the Jeep has been sitting at the farm beside the barn. Despite some restoration, it's basically surpassed its useful life even as a farm vehicle. In need of some electrical work, a barter was proposed: Install a new
electrical panel in the family's farmhouse and the Jeep is mine. How could I pass up an offer like that?

Electrical work complete, it was time to bring the jeep to it's new home. Step 1: battle an onslaught of wasps who had taken up residence in the Jeep. Step 2: disconnect driveshaft before placing on tow dolly (better safe than sorry). Step 3: use tractor to extract Jeep which had slowly sank into the dirt after years of sitting. Step 4: remove seized brakes preventing successful towing (thankfully it want a seized differential). Step 5: tow Jeep to its new home and unload from dolly with no brakes (a bit comical I must say).

Finally the jeep was in the garage awaiting a once over to familiarize myself with my new toy. This is Jeep number 6 for me. You think I would have learned by now...
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Unread 07-26-2013, 11:36 AM   #3
GFox
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Work Begins
Considering the Jeep's age and history, it's actually in really good shape (we won't consider the body here). Only one small section of frame rot near the rear leaf spring on the passenger side. A good candidate for restoration.

I've learned not all brakes are created equal. The Best Brakes brand shoes simply do not fit. They create a circumference just slightly too large for the drum to fit over them. After 3 tries I found a brand that works.

Reinstalled the driveshaft with new u-joints. A mix of fasteners were found to be used including those funky reverse torx things that you can't quite get the wrench on. I'm sure there's a reason to have such a crappy design on such a legendary vehicle. I have no idea what that reason might be.

The body/firewall where the clutch bracket mounts has rusted away. I bolted in a steel plate as a temporary fix to get the Jeep up and running.
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Unread 07-26-2013, 12:14 PM   #4
GFox
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What a gas

Jeeps are notorious for gas tank/gauge issues. Since this one has been sitting for a while and had a leak anyway, I decided to go ahead and remove it. Not an easy task. The skid plate which protect the tank is held in place by carriage bolts which fit into slots on the frame which are inaccessible. Bad design. Of course the bolts just spin when trying to remove the rusty nuts (is there anything on a Jeep that doesn't rust? I turned to a reciprocating saw to cut the bolts in order to drop the tank. A bit nerve racking since there was about 2 gallons of fuel still in the tank.

Eventually I was able to remove the tank (with a little bloodshed) and I'm stuck with 2 gallons of fuel that will not burn. Can't even use it to start bonfires. I can dispose of it properly in Hamilton county but I missed the deadline so I'll have to wait until next year.

I'm still contemplating wether to go with a traditional steel tank or aftermarket plastic. I'm leaning toward plastic since this won't be a daily driver and will sit for extended periods. I'll also wait to install it since it gives me access to restore the frame without the hassles of it being in the way.
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Unread 07-26-2013, 12:22 PM   #5
GFox
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blogger-image-1701256949.jpg
Of carburetors
So with a temporary gas tank and some tweaking the Jeep does start and run. Sort of. Rough, unsteady idling and a leaking radiator hose, I would never attempt to drive it. Never mind the broken seat.

I was hoping for a quick fix by cleaning the pickup tubes in the carb but no such luck. It was running but flooding very badly. The needle and seat were filled with crud so the fuel wasn't cutting off and the bowl just kept overflowing. Rebuild time. I cannot believe how much foreign matter came out of that carb! My experience with these things is minimal (the SU carbs on the MGB are much simpler) but armed with a rebuild kit and the Internet I performed a successful rebuild. One of the hardest parts was having to drill out the screws which attach the electric choke. They would not budge and I didn't want to get carb cleaner on certain parts.

I spent an entire weekend on the rebuild and I'm amazed it was a successful project. The Carter BBD carburetor has been demystified! The Jeep is purring like a kitten at 800 RPM and the throttle is nice and responsive.
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Unread 07-26-2013, 12:31 PM   #6
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The disassembled carb...
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Unread 07-26-2013, 12:44 PM   #7
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Jeeps are probably the most molested vehicle when it comes to mods, hacks, and general shade tree mechanic antics. I thought this one had avoided that statistic but I learned I am wrong.

Upon rebuilding the carb I realized it had an electric choke. Being unable to find the wire that powers the coil within I embarked on a quest in search of the elusive red wire with white tracer. What I found were a few splices wrapped in duct tape and a few more disconnected wires including one snipped leading from a relay. I don't think this is indication of a Nutter bypass but I must do some research before deciding wether to undo the changes or at least make them more tidy. It would be nice to have an unmolested Jeep. But then again I plan on a new body, small lift and oversize tires.
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Unread 07-26-2013, 12:45 PM   #8
GFox
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Duct tape fixes everything
At least AMC thought so. Turns out those duct tape covered splices are actually factory! And you though Lucas wiring was bad on the British cars!

Still this does not explain the cut white wire between the ECM and the idle relay. Nor does it explain the missing choke wire.

The saga continues...
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Unread 07-26-2013, 12:49 PM   #9
GFox
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Compression test/ burning oil
Even though the Jeep idles fine and the throttle is responsive there is still smelly blue smoke pouring from the exhaust. The oil smells of fuel and seems thin. This could be left over from the carb flooding. I'll change to oil to see if it happens again. The plugs are also black and a couple smell of fuel.

I performed a compression check and here are the result from front to back:

140
131
136
135
136
149

Not terrible. 18 psi from highest to lowest. I was hoping for no more than 10. Anyway, not sure if rings are the cause of the smoking. I also noticed more oil leaking this evening which would make sense if the oil is thinning out. Theory: flooding carb thinned oil which is now making it's way past the rings and burning. An oil change could tell me a lot. I'll also try leaning out the carb a bit more. If the issue persists then I have no choice but to blame valve seals/guides.

Update: The smoking has completely stopped. Must have had a ring work its way loose or something...
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Unread 07-26-2013, 12:50 PM   #10
GFox
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Engine update
Today I changed the oil and hooked up the electric choke. It smokes less, and the old oil definitely smelled of fuel. Even though its running ok, the timing light shows that 4 cylinders are firing intermittently. Maybe a set of plugs, wires, cap and rotor are in order. Unfortunately both front and rear seals are leaking as well so to do things right a rebuild is in order. At least I'll have it running in the meantime.
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Unread 07-26-2013, 12:50 PM   #11
GFox
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Tune up & idle relay
Decided to do a standard tune up. Plugs, wires, cap and rotor. Every cylinder now fires evenly and consistently. I took the idle down to 600 RPM a nod boy is it smooth. I also reconnected the idle speed relay by crimping on a new spade connector on the wire which had been cut. Here's what's strange: sometimes the exhaust doesn't smoke at all. Other times it blows blue smoke like there's no tomorrow. I checked the oil again and it's beginning to smell like fuel again. Oh well. My only question now is do I rebuild the motor this winter or next summer?
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Unread 07-26-2013, 12:54 PM   #12
GFox
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Variety is the splice of life
After connecting the choke I had to re-wrap those factory duct tape splices in the wiring harness. I wrapped them in rubberized electrical tape. Next I wanted to give them extra protection so I applied electrical tape. It's only about 34 degrees outside and oddly, the electrical tape would not stick to anything, not even itself. So... I decided to go original and reached for the duct tape! If its good enough for AMC it's good enough or me.
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Unread 07-26-2013, 12:58 PM   #13
GFox
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1985 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: milford, oh
Posts: 163
Shifting Gears
Today I installed the new shifter isolator and isolator clip. I remember fighting to remove that thing more than 10 years ago when we put in a new transmission. Tracy drove it for years with a wobbly shifter sans clip, even over the famed Peter's Branch trail! Gotta give him credit for that one.
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Unread 07-26-2013, 12:58 PM   #14
GFox
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: milford, oh
Posts: 163
Prince of Darkness
If you've ever owned a British car, you'll know that phrase represents the Lucas wiring used in many cars from the 60s and 70s. Today I decided to get all of the lighting working on the Jeep. That involved removing the wiring for the trailer hitch which left me with a bullet connector hacked to near death. Luckily, I still have a few parts left over from the MGB project so I rummaged around and found a side light wiring harness I could use. Hey, it was either that or splice it together using duct tape!
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Unread 07-26-2013, 12:59 PM   #15
GFox
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Posts: 163
Runck Bumpers
Removed the beefy Runck bumpers this evening. These things are heavy and durable. They would destroy anything they come into contact with. I like them, but it's not the look I'm going for so they had to come off. I also removed the 3/4" socket the installer got wedged one one of the bolts and wasn't able to remove

I'll see if I can't get a few bucks on Craigslist for these suckers. They'll clean up nice and would be right at home on any CJ or YJ.
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