1979 Golden Eagle Rebuild - JeepForum.com
Search  
Sign Up   Today's Posts
User: Pass: Remember?
Advertise Here
Jeep Home Jeep Forum Jeep Classifieds Jeep Registry JeepSpace Jeep Reviews Jeep Gallery Jeep Clubs Jeep Groups Jeep Videos Jeep Events Jeep Articles
Go Back JeepForum.com > Models > Jeep CJ Forum > 1979 Golden Eagle Rebuild

Baseline 4x4 Lifetime Warranty 4340 Chromoly Axle Shaft KiBushed Sleeves & Poly Bushings!All our Different Weld Washers!

Reply
Unread 08-11-2010, 07:17 AM   #1
MightyLampshade
Senior Member
 
MightyLampshade's Avatar
1979 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cleveland OH
Posts: 739
1979 Golden Eagle Rebuild

I don't have a catchy user name or something creative to call my Jeep (it was "The Beast" in highschool but those days are gone) so this will be another rebuild thread without a snazzy title. I'm going to start with some background then get into the pictures since everyone seems to love pictures

My father owned 2 CJs and I was able to ride around in one of them for awhile when I was younger before he sold it. I remember going over to my Grandmother's house where it was kept in the garage and working to start it each winter so we could use it to plow our driveway. I always had to sit in the back seat and hold onto the roll bar (I'm pretty sure the passenger side floor was gone) while my dad plowed but it was always a good time. He eventually sold it and we didn't have another CJ until October 2001 when we acquired the one I am currently having at for this rebuild.

This "new to me" Jeep was owned by my Uncle for some time and he provided me with a Haynes service manual that the person he purchased the Jeep from gave him that included the newspaper ad he bought it from as well as service records hand written through approx 18000 miles. When we got the Jeep it only had 21xxx miles on it so my Uncle didn't use it very much. I know he had it garaged at one house and when they moved it moved with them to the garage at their new house. It then spent a few years in a friend's heated garage but it just sat for an extended period of time which obviously isn't good for any vehicle let alone one that is 20+ years old (at the time). We went out to see it in said garage and it turned over but didn't start. Still pretty good considering how long it had been sitting and how old the gasoline and other fluids likely were.

My dad drove it home with my mother following him and they tell stories of only being able to go 45 MPH and having to watch out for the pieces flying off the thing. It died on them a few times on the trip home but they got it into our driveway and we started doing some work to get it at least reliably functional for me to use it going to and from school. We did some brake work including new lines, we tuned up the carb and set the timing, we fabricated an exhaust (impossible to find a crossover pipe for the V8 locally) and generally got the thing running as well as we could with minimal time and money. I quickly decided that wasn't enough...

The windshield frame leaked horribly as did the liftgate so I purchased new pieces and we installed them. This took some field engineering but it greatly improved the resistance to weather so I was happy with the results. The fenders were beyond salvaging so I purchased new fenders as well and we did some body work to clean up the worst of the rust. A lot of grinding and bondo later and some fresh paint and it was obviously not a new vehicle but it cleaned up pretty well given its age and it was more than suitable for me to drive - which I did happily for many years!

It took some time learning about and getting comfortable in such a tall vehicle with an old carburatered V8, no antilock brakes, just lap belts, no A/C, manual windows, doors that didn't lock with a remote and a host of other creature comforts and safety features that didn't exist in 1979 but I have to say I wouldn't trade the expirience for anything. It only left me totally stranded twice in my time driving it and the first time was entirely my fault for letting it run out of gas. On that note making sure the gas gauge works after the rebuild is high on the list of things to do.

I'll post some pictures about the earlier changes we made when we were getting it road worthy and cleaning it up but the majority of this thread will be about the current rebuild going on which started in late 2009 and as of yet doesn't really have a completion date.

In short -

I am starting with a 1979 Jeep CJ7 with the Golden Eagle trim package, the original AMC 304 V8, the GM Turbo-Hydramatic 400 Automatic Transmission, and the Borg-Warner 13-39 Quadratrac transfer case with the low range option. I drove this Jeep daily to and from school and work for several years before I went to college and then my sister drove it daily. It sat for a few months and then after college it again became my daily driver to and from work. I continued to drive it through minor repairs until the gas tank nearly fell out of it and it was determined that I needed something “more reliable”. At that point in time it was put in the garage and it has been sitting there since December of 2008. In late 2009 I was told I either needed to start seriously working on it or it needed to go and since I had always somewhere in the back of my mind had grand plans for this Jeep I started amassing parts and getting to work stripping it down into something I could rebuild.

MightyLampshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-11-2010, 07:48 AM   #2
MightyLampshade
Senior Member
 
MightyLampshade's Avatar
1979 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cleveland OH
Posts: 739
Obligatory hood shot. The decal is in pretty good condition overall but eventually I plan to replace it. There is some fading and its starting to tear a little as well.


These are some before pictures to show the rust damage to the body. The rear quarter panels on both sides were pretty messed up as well but I don't have those pictures handy. We added a lot of bondo and metal and got things looking servicable!





Last edited by MightyLampshade; 08-25-2010 at 08:27 AM..
MightyLampshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-11-2010, 07:51 AM   #3
MightyLampshade
Senior Member
 
MightyLampshade's Avatar
1979 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cleveland OH
Posts: 739
Cetainly not perfect but it greatly cleaned up the look of the thing and was passable from a distance.

Passenger side after








Driver side after



Last edited by MightyLampshade; 08-25-2010 at 08:28 AM..
MightyLampshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-11-2010, 07:56 AM   #4
MightyLampshade
Senior Member
 
MightyLampshade's Avatar
1979 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cleveland OH
Posts: 739
Time to do something about those fenders! And look at that tread wear


My father test fitting the fender


So as previously mentioned - a lot of paint and metal and grinding and hammering and bondo later we had a pretty decent looking vehicle that was at least mostly weather tight and got me where I needed to go faithfully for almost 8 years!


For the most part that was the extent of the work we did to it. We used it for plowing for 6 or 7 winters before the leaf springs in the back started to go and we discovered some serious frame rot that we had known about but it was getting much worse. We got new tires and aside from changing the oil and making sure to watch my mileage since the gas gauge wasn't working I didn't have to do much to it in the years that I drove it.

The gas tank skid plate was all that was holding the gas tank up and that slowly gave out over time to the point where the gas tank slid down so far that it pulled loose from the filler hose. We rigged up a system to get some fuel into it and I drove it home and we made a makeshift strap that probably secured the tank better than it had ever been since I was driving it but the damage was done and I needed to find something else to get me to and from work. I ended up with a 1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass that so far has been treating me well and the Jeep sat in the garage pretty much untouched for a year before I started the restoration/rebuild. I would start it periodically and back it out of the garage (thankfully it got to keep its garage spot) but I really missed driving it.

Last edited by MightyLampshade; 08-25-2010 at 08:29 AM..
MightyLampshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-11-2010, 10:19 AM   #5
MightyLampshade
Senior Member
 
MightyLampshade's Avatar
1979 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cleveland OH
Posts: 739
From here on I'll be going through the rebuilding process and I'll try to stick with a "The good, the bad, and the decision" layout to keep things clear. I welcome all comments and advice and just ask that people keep things nice :P If it looks like I'm explaining or doing something incorrectly thats simply my lack of knowledge and I have my father working on this with me and keeping me in line through the process.
MightyLampshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-11-2010, 10:32 AM   #6
MightyLampshade
Senior Member
 
MightyLampshade's Avatar
1979 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cleveland OH
Posts: 739
So I started ripping off the easy parts I was pretty sure I'd be able to handle on my own. I took off the fender flares and the tail-lights and the mirrors and doors and things of that nature. Nearly everything was all rusted solid so it took some time and a lot of Liquid Wrench but eventually I got the majority of the little stuff off. We had to torch the plow frame off for the most part but we sold it on Ebay and recovered almost what we paid for the Jeep when we got it so I'm not going to argue there









As you can see the rear quarter panels got pretty messed up again as more winters in snow and salt isn't good for any vehicle let alone one of this age. I'm sure sitting in the garage didn't help much either but at least it was clean, dry, and covered. The bondo and the welding from the last set of repairs hadn't held up too well but this time around I plan to take my time and do things right so that they last!

Last edited by MightyLampshade; 08-25-2010 at 08:30 AM..
MightyLampshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-11-2010, 11:10 AM   #7
MightyLampshade
Senior Member
 
MightyLampshade's Avatar
1979 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cleveland OH
Posts: 739
Over time I started getting parts together while I continued to take it apart. I've been bagging the little stuff and labeling it as best as I can but its still going to be a giant project to put things back together. I'll worry about that when the time comes through and for now focus on getting it taken apart! We finished taking out the interior - removing the carpeting and the seats and we pulled the steering column.





I was spending a lot of time on Craigslist and the like trying to find a frame in better shape than mine and I came across one maybe 40 minutes from home so I went to take a look. I was told it was from a 82 so I knew I'd have to play with the front shock towers but the price was right and the condition was solid so I bought it. To provide myself additional space for this build I purchased a temporary garage from HF and set it up in the backyard so the frame went back there on some jackstands so I could spend some time seeing what it really looked like.

The PO of the frame had decided to coat it in some kind of bedliner like material that had protected the frame from any serious rot but was flaking off in sheets. I took a scraper and got off what I could then I took a wire wheel on a grinder and went over the entire thing until I was sure that anything that was loose was removed. Without any terribly aggressive cleaning the frame cleaned up very well and I was pleasently surprised with the condition it was in.


Last edited by MightyLampshade; 08-25-2010 at 08:31 AM..
MightyLampshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-11-2010, 11:21 AM   #8
MightyLampshade
Senior Member
 
MightyLampshade's Avatar
1979 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cleveland OH
Posts: 739
There were only two areas on the frame that concerned me. Looks like someone had done some cutting to get it apart but I'm pretty sure I can reinforce those if needed.




There was also a wasp nest inside the frame rail. I don't really want to know how it got in there or how long this frame had been sitting in a field somewhere that wildlife moved in.


Overall though I was and still am very happy with the condition the frame is in. I even was able to get it down to bare clean metal without any grinding in some places, and some of that looks like it might be the original black paint too!

Last edited by MightyLampshade; 08-25-2010 at 08:32 AM..
MightyLampshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-11-2010, 11:21 AM   #9
MightyLampshade
Senior Member
 
MightyLampshade's Avatar
1979 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cleveland OH
Posts: 739
Aside from the forward shock towers being bolted on post 1982 I also discovered that the older frames (at least my 1979) had an extra crossmember just in front of the rear shock towers that the E-Brake cable runs through. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to be able to deal with this but that part is at least mostly all there from the original frame so I can probably either reuse it or fabricate something to take it's place.

Last edited by MightyLampshade; 08-11-2010 at 02:06 PM..
MightyLampshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-20-2010, 09:31 AM   #10
MightyLampshade
Senior Member
 
MightyLampshade's Avatar
1979 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cleveland OH
Posts: 739
Continuing to catch this up to date with where the rebuild is currently at!

I knew I would need a different body and I had done a lot of looking around. I was checking Craigslist and Ebay somewhat religiously and even considering the YJ swap since my main concern was to find a body that wasn't as far gone as mine. I came across a used fiberglass body on Ebay and I did some asking around on these forums and eventually decided to purchase it! It was only about 40 minutes from where I live which was wonderful so we borrowed a friend with a truck and brought it home.

The body is in pretty good condition with some holes from where the PO installed the hard top in a rather interesting fashion, some paint issues, and the newer door strikes already mounted. I'm thinking the holes won't take too much doing to patch up, the paint is going anyway (more on that later), and I'm being somewhat of a purist and keeping the older style doors to match the 1979 model year so I will have to change out the door strikes. Overall considering I paid about 1/3 of what a new fiberglass body would have cost I'm very happy with it.





So in terms of the lovely paint job...yeah...it was painted to match a Cleveland Browns helmet in it's previous life That will be going once I start cleaning the body up and I intend to return it to the original brown the actually vehicle was. I know very little about painting, let alone something this large or fiberglass but I work at a place that has a very nice paint booth for metal we work with so I intend to heckle the painter with a mess of questions and of course the people of JF when that time comes.
MightyLampshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-20-2010, 09:58 AM   #11
SlikRic
Muddin Maniac
 
SlikRic's Avatar
1983 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: North Port, Florida
Posts: 3,114
This site can help

How to Paint Your Car, Enthusiast Auto Body Discussion Forum & Videos

Nice work.
__________________
United States of America
Born: July 4, 1776
Died: Nov 4, 2008
SUICIDE
SlikRic is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-20-2010, 10:23 AM   #12
FamillyCJ7
Registered User
1983 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Middleburg, Florida
Posts: 1,019
Looks like you're making good progress! Good luck on the build!
__________________
'83 CJ7 258I6 4-Speed Father Daughter Project - Using Monstaliner/Chassis Saver and Products from CrabTreeTool
NorthEastFL4x4.com - Local 4x4 Enthusiasts website, join up now!
FamillyCJ7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-20-2010, 10:38 AM   #13
MightyLampshade
Senior Member
 
MightyLampshade's Avatar
1979 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cleveland OH
Posts: 739
I was really hoping for a body with the tailgate as CJ7s all came with them (at least I think they did. I know it was option on the 5s) but this body was such a deal I couldn't pass it up. It is however a pretty heavy duty body and I'm thinking that I can probably shave some of the fiberglass off the back of the body where the tailgate would go and put the skin from the tailgate on the back to at least create the appearance of a tailgate. I know it won't be functional I just really like the look of that on the back of the Jeep. I can reienforce it from the inside if need be so for the time being thats my plan. I am also considering trying to come up with some method to graft the raised word Jeep from each side of the original metal tub into the fiberglass. I've heard a few people mention it on this site but they usually say that eventually they seperate. I want this to last me for years - potentially the rest of my life so I'm not quite sure about this. The back I'm confident I can clean up enough to be presentable and if I ruin everything there is always a spare tire carrier to cover things.

Since I decided to keep the Golden Eagle look I'll be keeping the Quadratrac transfer case even if it does mean my axle options are limited. I'll also be keeping the interior which for 30 some years of use has held up very very well. All the buttons remain on the original Levi seats with the Rear and Passenger seats being in nearly perfect condition. The driver's seat has a small tear from stress along the side but I will probably just have that panel redone to make it good as new again. I believe it's the original carpet though I obviously have no way to verify that but since I don't plan on offroading this once complete I intend to clean it up and reinstall it afterwards.

MightyLampshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-20-2010, 11:11 AM   #14
MightyLampshade
Senior Member
 
MightyLampshade's Avatar
1979 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cleveland OH
Posts: 739
So aside from tearing the old down to make way for the rebuild I've been slowly gathering additional parts for the eventual reconstruction. Here is a little run down on what I have so far and some of what I have planned!

Rough Country 2.5" lift with the R9000 Shocks
Edlebrock Performer Intake
Holley TA 470 Carb
New Shackles and shock mounts. I'm sticking with the stock shackles as shackle lifts tend to look awful imho
New Rear Crossmember - I think these came pre-rusted from the factory originally
Front frame cover - Found a deal on one and couldn't pass it up!

And lots of other little pieces that I probably should have waited until further along in the build to purchase but I didn't! Think knobs and switches and other little mostly interior details.

On the list is headers and a dual exhaust of some sort. Not looking to break the bank here as this is being done on a budget but I want it to look and sound good! Thinking I'll likely go fenderwell and have the exhaust come out just in front of the rear tires. It doesn't need a nutter bypass b/c of it's age but I am seriously considering Team Rushing the ignition while I have everything all in pieces anyway.
MightyLampshade is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-20-2010, 03:32 PM   #15
CrazyHorse6
Registered User
1979 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Irmo, SC
Posts: 1,056
Nice jeep - I have the exact same one - once was a brown 1979 Golden Eagle. Fully restored now.
start-12.jpg   done.jpg  
__________________
CJ7, 258, Dana 20 T-case, Dana 30 & AMC 20, TFI Ignition upgrade, headers, MC 2150 carb, YJ tub mod w/Family Style roll bar...


Are you military or former military? Take a look at militaryjeepers.com!
CrazyHorse6 is offline   Reply With Quote




Jeep, Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and other models are copyrighted and trademarked to Jeep/Chrysler Corporation. JeepForum.com is not in any way associated with Jeep or the Chrysler Corp.