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Unread 12-28-2009, 11:54 AM   #1
TRex
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1979 CJ7 Build - "Project TRex"

I’ve always wanted a CJ. The opportunity came up recently to get a CJ from a friend that was in fairly decent condition. This is my first restoration/rebuild of anything. I’ve never pulled an engine or really done anything other than simple routine maintenance. I’ve never worked on a transmission, transfer case or any other driveline component. What I can do is read and follow directions… this should be interesting. I intend to update this thread with pics and updates as often as possible.

I’ll be teaching myself (along with the wealth of knowledge contained within JeepForum, of course) everything that it takes to do a complete, frame-off, restoration of a Jeep CJ including: tear-down, inspection, welding, body work, painting, rebuilding, what to purchase and where, troubleshooting, etc…

All of the work will be done in a small 3-car garage which currently has 2 bays in use (wife’s car on the left and storage, tools and motorcycles on the right).



The Project Truck…
The truck, as mentioned earlier, is fairly solid 1979 Jeep CJ-7, 304.

Engine: It has a rebuilt 304 with ~30k miles on the rebuild. It’s leaking every imaginable fluid from every imaginable orifice known (and unknown). Exhaust is currently rusted-out, long-tube headers to dual Flowmasters dumped in front of the rear wheels.

Chassis: The chassis is straight, rust-free and in good condition.

Body: The body is in fairly good condition, with several, quarter-sized, patches of rust and a larger rust hole behind the driver-side windshield mount. It looks to have been repainted at least once. And has some flavor of bed-liner throughout the interior.

Suspension: The suspension is in fair condition and looks to have been replaced at some point. It’s currently running 35” BFG ATs with the help of a 2” body lift and possibly longer shackles, Rancho shocks and a Rancho steering stabilizer.

Driveline: The clutch is completely shot but the 3-speed manual transmission is in excellent condition. The transfer case is unknown at this point and in unknown condition. It has a Dana 44, wide-track in back and the original up front but came with another Dana 44, wide-track for the front. The brakes are discs up front and drums in back—both are completely shot and barely functional.

The To-Do List…
• Pull motor, clean, strip, paint, replace seals/gaskets and other necessary items, dress-it up a little.
• Pull body, strip, fix rust, POR-15, prime, paint
• Strip chassis, POR-15, prime, paint paint
• Strip driveline, paint, replace seals/gaskets
• Strip suspension, inspect (replace if necessary), prime, paint
• Re-wiring, re-plumb all electrical and plumbing
• Replace brakes or brake components
• Get a night job to pay for all of this

The Timeline…
I have no idea what the time-line will be on this project. Since this is my first endeavor of this nature, I’m having a difficult time even planning it! This thread is forcing me to at very least write-down a punch list! I’m sure you all will have ideas and suggestions… and while I’m on the topic of suggestions, let me stress this point: Guidance and suggestions are not only welcome but encouraged!

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Unread 12-29-2009, 09:08 AM   #2
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Well, I got motivated and started ripping into the Jeep. I think I underestimated the amount of space this project will consume. I've already begun collecting greasy Jeep detritus just about everywhere possible. :-)

Pulled the windshield, roll cage, seats, consoles.


Started pulling the dash panel off.



Got the front fenders off.





I started tackling the rat's nest of wiring. I was going to save the wiring and even began labeling everything and then realized how big a mess it was. 30 years of splicing, hacking and Southern engineering was enough to change my mind. I figured instead of putting brittle wiring back into a nice Jeep, I'd spend the few hundred necessary for a new wiring harness.

I was looking at the Painless harness but it's twice the cost of some competitors. Anyone care to weigh-in on the subject?


So I took the tree branch trimmers to the wiring and got the job done quick!


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Unread 12-29-2009, 09:41 AM   #3
cad9176
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Long road ahead of you but stick with it! My rebuild was 2-1/2 years.

Painless Wiring is any oxymoron, but if you are not good with electric wiring I recommend them because they have a labeled kit for a bit more money. At least when you are frustrated and annoyed you can read the label and tell what wire you are working with. SAVE ALL OF THE OLD WIRING AND DASH BOARD!!!! DO NOT THROW IT OUT UNTIL THE JEEP RUNS 100%. Trust me on this! Do not reuse old brittle wiring, you will just have shorts and problems.

Check out my flickr site for pics and my youtube page also as you need to to.

Chris
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Unread 12-29-2009, 09:52 AM   #4
kickingprop
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TRex where in Houston are you? I'm up in the NW area near I-10 and Highway 6. If you are anywhere on the west side of town I might be able to lend you a hand from time to time if you needed.

Good luck on the build and Subscribed!
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1985 CJ7 Project
Phase One : 5.3L Vortec/4L60E, Moser axles for AMC20, Twin Stick'd Dana300 - Completed
Phase Two: Bedliner, Rollcage, Seats, BESRK Rear Bumper w/ tire swing, Soft Top, and a few other goodies - Mostly Complete
Phase Three: Waggy 44 front, Scout D44 Rear, 4.56's, ARB's (F/R) SOA with YJ Springs, 35x12.50x15 BFG MT - Not Even Close to beginning

Also a mostly rust-free 1970 Scout 800A That I'll get to start working on someday...

Quote:
Chrome won't get you home...BUT Rattle Can Black may just get you back"
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Unread 12-29-2009, 09:52 AM   #5
TRex
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Chris, That is an exhaustive chronicle of your build! Good stuff. I've been cruising through build threads like there's no tomorrow so I really appreciate your detailed photo walk-through. Did you just wear a camera around your neck at all times during the build? I start rolling on something and forget to take pics. I need to pickup a cheapo camera to keep in my garage so I don't have to drag my Nikon out there and risk breaking it or getting it too greasy.

Thanks for the advise on the wiring.
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Unread 12-29-2009, 09:55 AM   #6
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Thanks for the offer, kickingprop!

I'm actually in Missouri City which is, to say the least, a haul for you. BUT, you're more than welcome to come by anytime. I've got cold beer and pizza with your name on it!



Quote:
Originally Posted by kickingprop View Post
TRex where in Houston are you? I'm up in the NW area near I-10 and Highway 6. If you are anywhere on the west side of town I might be able to lend you a hand from time to time if you needed.

Good luck on the build and Subscribed!
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Unread 12-29-2009, 10:00 AM   #7
kickingprop
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Thats not too bad....at least you arent over in Pasadena or something. I actually play rugby and have regular practices over at Fondren and Belfort so I drive to that area regularly.

Let me know sometime if you need an extra set of hands.
__________________
1985 CJ7 Project
Phase One : 5.3L Vortec/4L60E, Moser axles for AMC20, Twin Stick'd Dana300 - Completed
Phase Two: Bedliner, Rollcage, Seats, BESRK Rear Bumper w/ tire swing, Soft Top, and a few other goodies - Mostly Complete
Phase Three: Waggy 44 front, Scout D44 Rear, 4.56's, ARB's (F/R) SOA with YJ Springs, 35x12.50x15 BFG MT - Not Even Close to beginning

Also a mostly rust-free 1970 Scout 800A That I'll get to start working on someday...

Quote:
Chrome won't get you home...BUT Rattle Can Black may just get you back"
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Unread 12-29-2009, 10:48 AM   #8
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Anyone know what transmission does this shift pattern belongs to? I'm hoping whatever it is, it's good simply because the transmission is in great shape.
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Unread 12-29-2009, 11:22 AM   #9
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That looks like the sticker I have on my dash for the T-150 3 speed... in fact, I believe it is the same one!

cb
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Unread 12-29-2009, 11:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRex View Post
I think I underestimated the amount of space this project will consume.
Here is some simple math for you.

It will take 2X as long as you think, cost 3X as much and take up 4X as much space.... you don't even want to know what the 5X and 6X are... but it relates to money either way

cb
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Unread 12-29-2009, 11:24 AM   #11
TRex
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I need some opinions here...

I'm thinking of putting the cast exhaust manifolds back on to simplify things under the hood and to keep some of the noise of that 304 down.

Pros of Headers
  • Increased performance
  • Look great
  • Sounds great if muffled properly
  • Excellent Durability

Cons of Headers
  • Loud
  • Difficult to install
  • Difficult to clear other components
  • Expensive
  • Less durable
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Unread 12-29-2009, 11:27 AM   #12
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Ha! That's great... a bit disturbing but sage advice nonetheless!



Quote:
Originally Posted by certifiablejeep View Post
Here is some simple math for you.

It will take 2X as long as you think, cost 3X as much and take up 4X as much space.... you don't even want to know what the 5X and 6X are... but it relates to money either way

cb
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Unread 12-29-2009, 11:31 AM   #13
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cb,

Thanks for the identification! How doe you like your T-150? Is this a good transmission and should I stick with it?

Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by certifiablejeep View Post
That looks like the sticker I have on my dash for the T-150 3 speed... in fact, I believe it is the same one!

cb
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Unread 12-29-2009, 11:34 AM   #14
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We have 2 of them and never had any issue... then moved to a T-18 in the 3rd Jeep and love that even more... basically a T-150 with a granny gear... very nice as well.

cb
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Unread 12-29-2009, 03:53 PM   #15
cad9176
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Headers near the driver and passenger door are very very loud.

I took a ton of pics from all angles. Sometimes not enough. I figured out the video tape thing a few months back.

I used my camera and my laptop to work in the shop I was renting for 8 months to keep me on track.

The pattern is for a T-150 3 speed. Very good tranny. I have one. Works great with a I6 engine, not sure how it does with a V-8.

Tip: Keep focused on the basics. Engine, tranny, body, frame, wiring, standard exhaust, etc. Look at add ons later. You will be amazed at how fast a 4 hour job turns into a 20 hour job...

Also, don't buy any fiberglass body parts EVER!
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