Here is the step by step process so far of my 1979 CJ5 Build. It has been quite the long drawn out process. There is no method to my madness and I have learned al ot over the build so far. I still have many different mods coming for my rig.
I feel that we as Jeepers have a lot of knowledge and sometimes that information gets squandered. So I want to give some light to other who are looking to build CJ's with what I have accomplished on my rig.
Believe me this is a budget build and there were many different avenues I could have taken but the money wasn't there at times and I needed to make the best with the funds I had.
Feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to provide any information I have available. The 4x4 Jeeping community is one of the best experiences I have ever had. I just want to give back to all those who have helped me going forward with my build.
So here is the rig I was given from my Step-Father who was really big into Jeeps. He bought it as shown and started a small block conversion with a Chevy 307 out of a 1972 Vova. The tranny (transmission) Auto Turbo 350 and a NP205 out of a 72 Jimmy.
4 Years later here she stands! Read the thread....see how it came along!
The very first thing to point out is the transfer case. Since there was no crossmember to hold the tranny and transfer case up the engine was sitting at 135 degree angle the points distributer had been smashed against the fire wall. This also lead to the transfer case hanging really far out as I have placed a red arrow to point out.
This vehicle would transfer in this condition from my Step-Father to me. It left New Mexico with me and would sit in my garage for a couple of months in Las Vegas until I saved enough money to have someone fix the mistakes. Finally at the end of the year in 07 I started contacting local 4x4 off road shops to see what they could help me with. I don't have the pictures before, but here is the work they accomplished. this got the vehicle running and driveable. The work that was done was to pull the engine and replace the broken freeze plugs on the block. Build a custom crossmember as seen pointed out below.
Next was to add an exhaust system. I chose fake flows with dual pipe all the way back. Now they asked me if I was sure I wanted pipe all the way back and not to just stop after the mufflers. I said yes I was sure but now wished I hadn't have paid for all that extra pipe.
Lesson 1 - Exhaust fumes
I didn't have a top at the time and I was in Vegas and on nice days I could drive around with no top and it wouldn't kill me. Well The exhaust would roll right out and sware back into the cab and the driver and passenger would smell like exhaust after a road trip.....NO FUN!
The next area the shop did was changing my AMC 20 from a 2 piece to a one piece with a 1 piece Alloy kit. This is something my Step-Father had purchased but didn't have time to put in. It takes the week breakable 2 piece clip system and changes it to a solid one piece set up. Really the only part of the axles that is vunerable is the tube housing.
The next area was drive shafts. I needed a set of custom drive shafts for the small block conversion. The 4x4 Shop went with Tom Woods Drive Shafts. Think the whole set up cost me around $800 for the pair. Now since I am running a CJ5 (one of the shortest Jeep bodies) My rear axles was Short.....I mean short! Drive shafts was last because they wanted to know my pinion angle.
Since I am running a Spring Over and what I will continue to call a Redneck Lift (This guy who owned the Jeep before me welded 2 inch metal blocks under the front and rear leaf spring hangers) I had about a 7 1/2in lift. Also I was running 35's so this made for a tall short wheel base death trap.
They slanted both of my axles to help with the angle of the drivelines (pinion angle). The rear we went with a CV Joint which helps for more angles in four wheeling.
Well all of this was completed and I payed a total of $4400 dollars to have this stuff done. Yeah from that point on I learned to work on things myself to try and save money. Plus the work done didn't reflect the amount of money I spent.
That was lesson 2. Do your own work! Teach a man to fish and yada yada yada.
From here I drove the Jeep about a month or so and just wasn't happy with its performance. Next I ventured into motor work. I knew a good deal about the racing world and thought that my knowledge would work with four wheeling.
Go with fuel injection! A carb has limitations on the trail.
Here is what I had to work with after the 4x4 Shop.
Natuarlly in my limited knowledge I thought well a new intake and the biggest carb on the planet will fix any low performance I was getting from my motor. When I say low performance I mean it ran sluggish, had a horrible exhaust, and wasn't pretty to look at. Well I dropped $800 bucks into a Edelbrock Performer Intake, Edelbrock 4 Barrel Carb, and aluminum valve covers!
Now for this money I could have gone with a junk yard throttle body system and had far better capability when it came to rock climbing and getting verticle. Wished I could do that one over kids!
From here I made a minor tweek to the Steering box in the way of reiforcing it. Plus I was told it would help with the death wobble I was recieving and large amount of play in my steering wheel. You can see what I'm talking about by the two red arrows in the picture. Cheap part runs you about $45 to $60 bucks
Next as most Jeepers I got completely carried away with looks.
Lesson Number 4
Just cause it looks good doesn't mean it will perform on the trail.
I got lost with dumb upgrades like black finished trim that stayed finished for all of 4 months of weather and cost me a pretty penny everytime I turned around.
I did start working on patching the body and getting ready to rhino line the interior.
Here was the process.
First there was no interior in my Jeep. All the carpet had been tore out and the drivers and passenger side floor boards where rusted out. No large holes but big enough to question riding shotgun.
Also I went from a standard to an automatic. We used a B&M shifter that was mounted between the driver and passenger. Then the stick from the 205 to change into 4 high and 4 low was a little below that. Here was my first encounter with sheet metal work. Once again rather than doing the work I paid a guy at a shop to do it and almost got my thumb cut off trying to help.
After that encounter I made up my mind to stop letting sops hurt my pocket and cause me physical harm and set out to finish patching the interior myself.
Next was the floor boards. I ordered a floor pan replacement and commenced to putting this in at a buddies shop. I wanted to cut out the old but he insisted it would be strong layed over the top of the old and hammered to fit. Since I was covering it with bed liner it didn't matter what it looked like under neath so we riveted it in and then sealed it with sealant. Here is the pick of the passenger side.