I am new member to this site but have browsed the forum a lot. I want to thank everyone who has submitted their adventures here. I have learned a lot and still have a lot to learn.
Anywayhow, on to my story.
I have previously owned a 1990 YJ and a 1993 YJ. Loved them both but I ran across a 1980 CJ7 and although I knew it needed some major work I purchased it. I wanted to go 'Old School'
The 80 CJ I got had a fiberglass body already on it. I know a lot of people do not like it but the Ohio salt will eat an older body. So to me that was a plus. The Jeep looked good but the frame was shot. And I do mean shot! It had a plow on it. It had a 304 V-8, 4 speed T-176, Dana 300 transfer case, 30 and 20 axles with 3.31 gears.
I purchased the jeep in the fall of 2009. I figured a frame replacement wouldn't be too bad or that costly.... lol yea right. I am working with limited funs so I have to watch my spending. I figured I would get a year or two out of it before I had to get the frame done.
As it stands now May 2011 it is about 7/8 of the way done. Any comments will be welcome.
Well the first winter went well. I babied it because I knew the frame was not in that great of shape. We got a lot of snow in NE Ohio and the jeep did an awesome job of moving it around. I did some extra drives and made a few dollars here and there. I like this! Extra money for the wallet!
so the search began for a frame. I found a 1983 frame in very good shape. It had the 6cyl motor, wide track dana 30 and 20 axles, complete power steering and wiring. I picked it up for $400.00 It was in great shape except for the rear cross member and a little bad around the rear shackle mounts. I figured this would be an easy fix. I sold the motor for 50.00 the power steering set up, pump, box and all for 150.00, and the wiring harness for 75.00. Not a bad return!
I began the process by stripping the new frame and starting to clean it up. I wanted it sand blasted down bare. I was getting prices in the 400 to 500 dollar range. Heck with that. I went and purchased a sand blaster and used play sand. Good investment into tools and learning and time. After the frame was blasted clean, in and out. Well in as best as I could get it. The repairs began.
Lol I know. To be honest the last day I plowed with it, I went to raise the plow and the lights started to go forward before the plow raised. I drove it home slowly and took the plow off. Hasn't been on since. It may never go back on....
As for the frame repair I picked up a pair of frame repair sections and had them welded on. It made it easy and also strengthened the rear end. There were a few other places I had to do some nut repair, drilling and tapping. But all together it went very smooth. I was very pleased. My cousin did the welding for me in his shop.
I had heard a lot about por 15 and how good it was. A lot of people on here have talked about it and have made some great comments on it. So I followed suit. I brush painted the frame with the por 15 then used a sprayer and coated the inside of the frame so it would not rust from the inside out.
The body was not properly mounted so I got the kit to mount the fiberglass body correctly and put it on. Instead of bolting the mid plate on I had it welded on with spacers giving it a 1"lift.
I sand blasted the wide track axles and por15 them. The old suspension was totally shot. sagging, warn bushings and broken springs. So after shopping around I decided on some 4" lift rough rider springs from Morris 4x4. I know rough rider springs have a not so hot rep. But I have heard they have come a long way in their quality. And they were very cheap and had a complete bolt on system including shocks, dropped pit-man arm and all. I purchased 4 new Goodyear wrangler tires, 33/12.50/15 with a new tread pattern. They may be a little loud but that is what I want. I also got a new power steering gearbox mount since the old one was rusted. (surprise). I put the tires on the old steel rims instead of the aluminum ones. I wanted some good strength just in case. The old tires on aluminum rims are still on at this point. The tires are lt 235/15.
Ok... what I have learned to this point. If you are planning on doing a frame replacement there are sooooooooooo many things to consider. Cash and time are the two biggest ones. To this point I have a lot invested, New this , new that, purchasing tools ect. And it really has not even started yet. But remember. Take lots of pics, do a lot of research, and any job worth doing is worth doing well!
Stay tuned to the local channel. More to come, more mistakes made, and more good things going on!
Most of the summer went to making a list of things I needed, wanted and prices. I spent many hours online looking for the best prices and a lot of time on e-bay. Like I said money is/was not in great supply. So a total rebuild was out. The engine runs good, will save that rebuild for later. The trans, t-case, axles were all working and in good order. So rebuilds were out of the question for now. I wanted just to replace the frame and get it back on the road. I debated on things like brake lines. Make my own or go stainless. Well I figured it was worth it to go the stainless route. Things like that I spent the extra money.
Like I said, pics, research, research and more research.
Finally a lot of parts began to come in. So in late Oct 2010 the frame was finally ready so the tear down would begin. Heck how long could it take? unbolt, swap, bolt, done. Easy right? lol O.M.G. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I don't think there was one bolt that came right off. All of them had to be drilled, cut, or chiseled off! So many parts had to be taken off, cleaned up, sand blasted, prepped and painted. Wow. But I wanted it to be done right. sooooooooooooo on with the tear down....