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Unread 02-22-2010, 11:49 PM   #1
TJ-Joe
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1984 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 127
'84 CJ7 (Re)Build

After being inspired by all of the build threads here on JeepForum, I decided to do one myself. I grew up with Jeeps in High School ('42 GPW and '76 CJ5) but got out of it after college. The bug laid dormant for 20 years until I bought this bone stock 1984 CJ7 in 2001. When I started the initial build, a friend said, "that Jeep is too nice to wheel - you'll just tear it up!" Boy was he right. Here are a couple of photos when I got it:





The following chronicles what I did to it from 2001-2009 (when I started the latest build).

October 2001 - When I bought the Jeep, the top was in a box. When the first rain was predicted, I went out to put up the top and found a good sized hole in the back, so I bought a Bestop SuperTop.

November 2001 - Installed body and suspension lifts. First was a Performance Accessories 1" body lift, which went in easily since I had been spraying the bolts with WD-40 every night for a week. The only hassle was the clutch linkage: the relocation bracket that PA shipped with the kit did not work - it appeared to be for a 3" kit. After fabricating a new bracket, I found it worked (aligned) better with the stock setup, so I just put it back together without the new bracket. I had to replace the plastic bushings and retainer clips as this linkage apparently hadn't seen grease since leaving the factory. Next came the BDS 4" lift, Con-Ferr shackles, Doetsch Tech DT3000 shocks, extended bake lines, and new tie rods. No major problems, just a few stubborn parts that refused to come apart without use of a BFH, and a few modifications to spring perches and u-bolt brackets to accommodate larger centering pins on the springs.

Before:


Front is complete:


Working on rear:


Done (looks goofy on 30's):


Got the tires and wheels on a few days later. It looks much better, but is tougher to climb into. Lifting the spare on the carrier is fun - the 35" MT/R's are just a tad heavier than the stock spare. I can't wait until the springs settle a bit ...


December 2001 - Hoping to get a little more oomph from the CJ-7's 258ci six-popper, I got a wild hair and installed the Ford TBI ignition upgrade. I bought a distributor cap, adapter body, rotor and plug wires from a 1982 F-150 with 300ci I-6, then a TFI coil from a 1995 Ranger with a 3.0L V-6. It went in clean: the only hassle was fabricating a mount for the coil. I also pulled out the distributor and replaced the centrifugal advance springs.



A week later I installed front and rear Detroit lockers, 4.56 gears and Superior alloy shafts, as well as Warn premium front hubs and a Baertrax Buttface front diff cover. I also had Baertrax build a full roll cage; I had to remove the factory side steps to accommodate the cage frame tie-in, which made it a little rough for my wife to climb in.

Roll cage:


Jan 2002 - After a shakedown cruise in Muenster, TX, I drained and refilled the diffs and found a surprise - chunks of thrust washer from the rear Detroit. Drivetrain Direct replaced it under warranty, but it was still a hassle. On the same trip, the back broke off the driver's seat, so I bought and installed a set of Corbeau Bajas seats.



While I was at it, I installed B&M short-throw shifter in the T5. I also installed a hand throttle (which I never use). I had no idea how tough it was to find a bike shop who carried plain old generic bike shifters, but finally found one. It took all of an hour to fabricate a mount and get it installed.

Feb 2002 - What started out as a simple project (re-rattlecan the roll cage) turned into the typical Jeep project from hell. Once I lifted out the cage, I saw the tub was rusted out and falling apart under the original roll bar mounts (behind the front seats). After a weekend of wire-brushing, sanding, sealing, cutting, fitting and riveting patches, filling & priming, it was ready for a top coat. While I was at it, I realized the neat-o Astroturf carpet was holding water and so had to go. I decided to do a roll-in bedliner, and so started prepping the tub - scrubbing with Goo-Gone to remove the adhesive left by the @#$% carpet tape, scrubbing away years of grease & grime with TSP, sealing & priming the rust spots, etc., then rolled on two coats of Herculiner. I did not think to take progress photos, but here is the final product.



Mar 2002 - Installed Howell fuel injection, running into a few snags, the biggest of which was that Howell sent me the California harness with a 49-state kit. The harness had a connection for a 4-wire heated oxygen sensor, but the sensor they supplied was only a two wire unit. I got a new oxygen sensor from Howell a few days later and finished the install. Finding a circuit to power the ECM was also a challenge (needs power with ignition switch in both on and start positions) ... I remembered reading on one of the forums that the oil pressure gauge had such a wire, which saved me a lot of hassles. It cranked right up and purred like a kitten.

Since I had the glove box out, I decided to replace the heater control cables and dash indicator lights. I had had the parts for months, but never took the time to install ... it was a lot less work than I had anticipated. I also took the opportunity to fix the cigarette lighter and the messy wad of cables from the stereo.

April 2002 - Installed a Currie twin stick setup for the Dana 300. Install was easy, but the Currie shift boot was a joke - it didn't cover the hole in the floor. I ended up cutting the stock boot and slipping it over the Currie boot.



May 2002 - Installed a Warn XD9000i winch (put it to good use the next weekend).

September 2002 - Replaced the clutch, which chattered bad when cold and the throw-out bearing was squealing. A previous owner apparently had this done before, but must have hired Bubba to do the work - three bolts were missing off the bell housing, they didn't resurface the flywheel, and they didn't replace the pilot bushing (the pilot bushing was so worn it was reamed out 1/8 inch). I also had to replace the throw-out arm boot, which was a PITA to find at the last moment. Wow, no more bucking bronco or squealing pig!

While I had it apart, I clocked the transfer case up flat using a clocking ring I bought off eBay. It took a few shots to get it stabbed becasue we had to grind a little off a nub on the transfer case to get it to fit into the T5 transmission when rotated. I had to use a torch to bend the Currie Twin Sticks to get them vertical again; the rotation caused the whole shifter to be shifted up and over, necessitating modifications (trimming) of the tub. I took the opportunity to change the lube in both the transmission & transfer case and replace the transmission mounts with polyurethane mounts.

I also Installed a Dynatrac U-Bolt flip kit. I had to weld new shock mounts on the rear axle, but otherwise it went smooth and I gained lots of clearance ... well worth the money.





October 2002 - After less than a year, the rear BDS springs have sagged severely ... I guess the cage and trail box were too much weight. Thanks to BDS's 'no fine print' warranty and Bob Supplee (of Supplee Four Wheel Drive in Moore, OK), I have new rear springs plus a set of helper springs.

December 2002 - A bad choice in lines resulted in my first flop: casualties included driver's side fender, hood, windshield frame, top and motor mount:







February 2003 - I put the CJ back together. I found new reproduction hood, fender & windshield frame on eBay, got urethane motor mounts and windshield gaskets from Quadratec, and bought used windshield glass locally. I had a local boat shop sew up the tear in the soft top.





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Unread 02-22-2010, 11:50 PM   #2
TJ-Joe
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Join Date: Dec 2009
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August 2003 - Another bad choice of lines led to me flopping it on the other side: casualties included rear corner and cowl. At this point I decided replacing body parts was a waste of money and so just wheeled it as it was.





May 2005 - I decided to pretty the CJ up again, so I installed aluminum diamond plate corners and painted the body panels red. I decided I didn't like the red after all, so switched to olive drab (tried it on a few panels for a while to see how I would like it).

Corners:




Half baked paint job:




Back to olive drab:



January 2006 - Flopped Back on the side in Nocona, TX (see a pattern here?). Carnage: hood and windshield frame.






June 2006 - My first and only trip to Katemcy resulted in a grenaded rearend - I spun and bent both tubes. I found someone in Corsicana with an empty housing, and moved my innards to it, first welding the tubes and adding a beefy truss.

Axle out:


Toasted housing (salvaged the shock mounts):


A view through shows how bad it was bent:


Trussed up and ready to install:


February 2008 - I decided to replace the windshield so I could put a top back on it. I picked up a frame of Ebay (#3 so far), then ordered the glass from a glass shop on Ebay. The first piece of glass arrived broken due to p*ss-poor packing; it took several e-mails and calls before the guy would agree to ship a replacement. The second piece of glass arrived a month after the first, broken even worse than the first (it is amazing this guy does glass for a living). All told, it took three months to get my money back, then I ran down to Binswanger and got it for the same price as the Ebay deal ... oh well, live and learn ...

First piece:


Second piece:


August 2008 - The past few trips the fuel injection had been giving me grief, sometimes running smooth, sometimes sputtering. I started diagnosing and found that only one injector was firing. I switched the connectors to see if it was the injector or wiring The problem followed the connector, so I started unwrapping and tracing the harness looking for breaks or cuts. I got all the way to where the harness enters the firewall and found that it would run smooth when the harness was flexed upwards, sputter when flexed downward. I unwrapped all the way to the ECM and foind no issues, so I started jiggling each wire as it entered the ECM connector, only have have pin 1 snap off ... #%^*!!! I tried finding replacement crimp or solder pins, only to learn that no one stocks them. I soldered it together only to have a second one break. Once I soldered the second back together, it passed the 'flex' test, so we were good to go for the weekend.

February 2009 - The fuel injection problems returned: I found corrosion in the Howell fuseblock and had another pin snap off. At this point, I called Howell and ordered a new harness, which I installed in a coupled of hours - problem solved! While I was at it, the stock Duraspark ignition module had always been flakey over 4,000 RPM but started getting worse, so I decided to replace it with a MSD6 CDI ignition box. When I was installing it, I noticed references to the tach filter ... after consulting the Howell manual I learned that I needed a different tach filter for a CDI ignition. I called Howell, who sold me one for $50. Once it arrived, I had to
unlace the harness, cut out the old filter and solder in the new. I fired it up with the MSD ignition and WOW, what a difference! It was smooth up past 5,000 RPM!

June 2009 - I had been wanting to get tube fenders and crusher corners for a while and ended up with a big gift certificate to 4 Wheel Parts, so I ordered Gen-Right fenders and corners. It took quite a bit
of manhandling to get everything mounted, since the body had been tweaked so much in three flops. While I was at it, I also got a new hood and finally installed the windshield frame and glass a year and a half previously.









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Unread 02-22-2010, 11:52 PM   #3
TJ-Joe
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 127
November 2009 - I have made it ten trips with no body damage (running milder trails and taking fewer dumb chances), so I've decided to beat out all the dents and paint the CJ. The remainder of this thread is focused on this effort. Years ago I went to Maaco and got a quote to paint it, but quickly learned that all of their paint jobs and prep are crap: their pricing is simply based on how long they are willing to stand by the job - the more you pay, the longer the warranty (during which they will just repaint over their previous screw-up). I went to a couple of different body shops and got quotes, but their pricing was astronomical and I could not see paying that when the odds were good I'd bash it up again. I tried the rattle-can Rustoleum approach, but the results left a lot to be desired and the color faded fast. Since this will continue to be a trail Jeep, I will paint it myself - that way if I mess it up and can fix it myself.

Day 1 - The first step was to strip it down. On Friday I stripped out the interior (removed the seats, seatbelts, console, shifter boots, 20lbs of pine needles and junk from previous sheeling trips).

Then I removed everything from the exterior, including lights, winch, license plates, and hood hardware. Last item for the day was to unbolt the roll cage for easy removal. The followng is at the end of the first day:



Day 2 - The next challenge was to remove the roll cage. I intentionally designed my shop to that I could hoist out an engine from the beams, so it was simply a matter (or so I thought) of hooking up a come-along and hoisting the cage up, and then driving out from under it. Easier said than done. I threw a ratchet strap over the beam, wrapped a tree strap through the cage, and then connected the two with the come-along. A few measurements told me that this would not do the job: I needed to lift the cage 22" to clear the tub, but the come-along body limited me to only 14" of lift:





After a bit of noodling I came up with a better way: I used used a snatch block at the beam, a 2x4 with hooks at the cage, then attached the come-along to the rear of the CJ and started cranking. Once I had the cage lifted 23", I used a ratchet strap to hold it up, allowing me to disconnect the come-along and pull the CJ out:





The next step was to get the cage lowered the ground: I hooked the come-along back to the Jeep to lower it back down:



The next shots show it stripped down and ready to be washed (which resulted in 50 lbs of mud creating a mud slide in the driveway):









After washing it and letting it dry in the sun, the final work for the day was to strip the dented areas down to bare metal in preparation for pulling the dents (note the high tech "Tidy Cats" driver's seat in the second photo):







Last shot as I wrapped for the day:

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Unread 02-22-2010, 11:56 PM   #4
TJ-Joe
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Join Date: Dec 2009
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Day 3 - I got to try out my new stud welder out today. Instead of drilling holes and screwing in a dent puller, the stud welder welds pins to the body, which the puller grabs onto. The first set of pictures shows the first studs welded on. Once I started pulling, I realized I needed more to smooth it out:











The next few shots show the finished product on the drivers side - pretty smooth and ready for body filler:







The passenger side was caved in much worse ... the following are before shots, then shots with the studs welded on (all were used, some took multiples):











Once the dent had been pulled out (as much as it was going to come), I used JB-Weld to epoxy a patch over the old antenna hole (since I don't have a welder). I put a nail through the patch and used the vise grips and 2x4 to keep the pressure on the patch:



While waiting for the JB-Weld to cure, I started looking and picking at the Herculiner bed liner that I used on the interior of the tub. I am NOT impressed with this product. I rolled it in six years ago, following the manufacturer's recommendations to a tee, yet you can see the ease in which I peeled it up and the amount of rust I found under the cage mounting points ...









Day 4 (Actually a couple of weeks later) - I haven't had much free time to work on the CJ in quite a while; I have spent an hour here and there scraping out the #%@& Herculiner, but not much progress. I found a tip online that Aircraft Stripper will take it up, so I bought a can to try.

I decided I did not like the way the cowl turned out with the JB Weld (it was a bad idea anyway and the dent is still to deep, so I bought a set of body tools (hammers and dollies) and plan to pull out the heater assembly so I can beat the dent out properly. I also bought a new Hobart MIG welder to weld up the hole (and many other holes around the tub)


Last edited by TJ-Joe; 02-23-2010 at 06:53 AM..
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Unread 02-23-2010, 12:03 AM   #5
TJ-Joe
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Day 5 (a month later) - I have continued off and on to strip out the $%#& Herculiner with a putty knife and beat up knuckles. The Aircraft stripper just made a mess and made the Herculiner adhere better. I bought a needle scaler at Northern Tool the other day and plan to try it out this weekend - hopefully it will work better and getting this stuff out.

I also have rediscovered the holes that I 'fixed' when I put the Herc in -they'll need to be cut out and weld new patches in ... they're not any worse than when I last patched it up, so I bought myself a few years last time and now can do it right.







This catches me up to date ... I'll post in realtime from here on.
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Unread 02-23-2010, 12:29 AM   #6
apfroggy0408
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Looks like it's been quite the journey! For tube fenders do you HAVE to cut up the body? I was curious because I would love to do some tube fenders but I will not cut the body of my cj7.
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Unread 02-23-2010, 02:48 AM   #7
ArrizX
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Very interesting. You have balls taking out a mint CJ like that (well at least in the first few pix it looked like it lol)..... oh well its working out for you. Awesome thread man keep it up.
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Unread 02-23-2010, 04:18 AM   #8
BeepTheJeep
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I couldnt agree more. It really looks great.
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Unread 02-23-2010, 06:48 AM   #9
TJ-Joe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apfroggy0408 View Post
Looks like it's been quite the journey! For tube fenders do you HAVE to cut up the body? I was curious because I would love to do some tube fenders but I will not cut the body of my cj7.
Depends on the fenders - with these Gen-Rights (or PSC and several others), you have cut up a set of stock fenders for the inner fenderwells. Considering mine were already bashed in, it was no big deal for me, although it wouldn't be hard to find a crunched set amongst the rock crawling community.
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Unread 02-23-2010, 02:12 PM   #10
CjAl
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metalcloak makes a tube fender with inner finder so you don't have to cut your stock ones but they are apendy li buggers. over $700 for the fender and another $200+ for the bolt on flare
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Unread 02-23-2010, 09:27 PM   #11
Mud-Rock
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Great thred so far, keep it going. Outstanding recap of what you have done over the previous 9 years, I cant remember what I had for breakfast.
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Unread 02-23-2010, 10:16 PM   #12
apfroggy0408
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I think I might go in the direction of buying some beat up fenders and doing it to them. You only have to cut up front fenders correct?
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Unread 02-23-2010, 11:38 PM   #13
TJ-Joe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apfroggy0408 View Post
I think I might go in the direction of buying some beat up fenders and doing it to them. You only have to cut up front fenders correct?
That's correct - they bolt to the grille and tub the same as stock.
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Unread 05-19-2010, 07:39 AM   #14
nichboy
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Hey Joe, what model of mig welder did you buy and how do you like it?
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Unread 05-19-2010, 08:02 PM   #15
TJ-Joe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nichboy View Post
Hey Joe, what model of mig welder did you buy and how do you like it?
I got a Hobart Handler 140 (110v); I would have prefered a 220v, but didn't want to part with that much $$. I have done up to 3/16 and have been pleased with it.
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