I'd been on the fence for a while whether or not to replace the motor. I had decided to just do seals and gaskets and clean it up. Apparently, it had a different plan in mind. Oh well, what's a couple more thousand dollars in the grand scheme of things, LOL!
In other news, a little test on the wheels with some stripper reveals a nice chrome wheel under the failing clear coat. I'll work on these next and try to figure our what tire to mate them with.
Today I got all of the old clear coat off of the rims. Overall, they are in really good shape. I still have some cleaning and polishing to do (maybe I'll try the tin foil trick). The rim for the spare tire does have quite a bit of chrome flaking off, so i might replace that one eventually. For the time being, a spare tire cover will certainly mask the problem!
Got the rear brakes put back together. Holding off on big ticket items until fall so I'm focusing on other things like brakes, wiring harness, degreasing bell housing, motor brackets, etc. All the slow going, boring stuff. Doesn't feel like much progress is made while working on these items, but it has to be done.
I just used your basic paint stripper mostly used for wood refinishing, as that is what I had on hand. Aircraft stripper is a bit more potent, but as bad of shape as the clearcoat was on these wheels brake fluid probably would have worked. The key to any stripper is to dab it on rather than brush it. Also keep it out of direct sun so it doesn't dry out. It only needed to sit about 10 minutes per wheel before hosing off and a little scrubbing with an old toothbrush. They really look pretty good, not perfect. I'm afraid they aren't up to snuff with the paint on the new body so I may look into re-chroming. That has its own set of problems- (cost, the hard to chrome areas where the pieces meet, etc...) I'm really glad AMC coated them, otherwise they would have rusted away years ago. I'm still contemplating a new clear coat.
Correction: MasterPro Automotive Paint Stripper. I had it left over from stripping the hood and fenders. In other news, I picked up a set of full steel doors from a friend. I'll do a test fit with them to see how well they fit the Replitub and if they're a good fit I'll paint them to match the body and sell the crappy two piece soft doors that came with the new top. The steelies are in better shape than the originals I sold for more money so I'll still come out ahead. Can't wait to find the time and motivation to really make some headway on the project.
The Jeep had been put on hold for a little bit, but finally I'm back at it (slowly but surely). The wiper linkages were cleaned up, lubricated and installed in the new windshield frame along with the new seal. I like the look of the 2 ribs on the frame, though not period correct. While test fitting the frame before paint it fit satisfactorily to the body, though it was a very snug fit. It'll be a scary task bolting it up now and I'll be sure to use plenty of tape to protect the paint. That will have to wait until I can get a helping hand. In the meantime, I'm making final choices on upholstery colors and having new BFG's mounted to the rims on Wednesday.
The windshield frame is bolted loosely to the body. Still waiting for the proper bolts to be painted before it can be permanently attached. The new 31" BFGs have been mounted the the OEM wheels. Next up: front rotors, pads and calipers before mounting the wheels. Oh, and polishing 25 lug nuts!
Finished up the rear brakes and mounted the tires back on. While I love the OEM Laredo wheels and they did clean up pretty well, they just don't pass muster compared to the rest of the project. They'll do for now, but I'm gonna have to replace them or rechrome them at some point. Moving on the the front- I can't mount those until I install new rotors. On the CJ7 the rotor and hub are mounted as one so to replace the rotors it's a complete disassembly. Mot a bad plan anyway as it gives me a chance to replace any needed items like wheel bearings, etc. Oddly, everything is in great shape, at least on the passenger side. I've got a little more cleaning to do and some painting before I button everything back up on that side. Here's the proper layout of all the parts after being cleaned.
Cleaned and degreased everything, repacked the wheel bearings and painted the hubs before re-assembing everything. Once I locate the bolts for the calipers I'll bolt those up with some new pads to mate with the new rotors.
Silly me, the bolts were on the calipers. This, I found out only after scouring through every box and bag of parts I have. Nevertheless, the brakes are done (well I still need to install a new master cylinder and pedals and... Maybe next I'll start cleaning up those wiring harnesses.
A lot of people have different ideas on how to restore the black shine and luster to the rubber fender flares on Jeeps. Keeping them protected with a penetrant from the get go is the best way, but when they've been sitting in the hot sun for 15 years uncovered here is what works for me:
1. Clean the flares with a good sudsy car cleaner or even dish soap to remove any traces of mud, dirt, gravel, etc. and let dry throughly.
2. Go over the entire flare using a red 3M Scotch Brite scuff pad. Me sure to get into all the cracks and crevices, which is fairly simple as the pad molds easily into all the contours.
3. Wipe down the flare with a liberal amount of Mother's Back to Black, massaging into the flare as much as possible with a soft cloth.
4. After sitting 15-20 minutes or so, wipe off any excess and buff the flare to a nice even shine using moderate pressure with a soft cloth.
5. Any uneven spots can be scuffed again with the pad removing oxidized material and repeating steps 2-5 as necessary until you are satisfied with a nice even shine.
If you are careful, you can also use sandpaper or a heavier scuff pad to remove or smooth out any scratches or gouges in the flares using paper only as course as needed. Start with finer grade and work your way down to prevent doing any damage and then work your way up to finer grades and finally finish with the red scuff pad. Practice on the underside of a flare if you are unsure how to proceed.
A little Simple Green and some quality time with a toothbrush is bringing this 30 year old, muddy, grimy wiring harness back to life. I'll use a little etching mag wheel cleaner on the contacts and then coat with some dielectric grease and they'll be good to go. Finish everything off with a wipe down with Armor-all and it'll look like new.