Jimnut's long over due 86 CJ-7 Build Thread, Project RustBucket *Lots of Pictures*
Decided to finally do a build thread for my project 86 CJ. It has come a pretty long way in the short time that I have owned it. I wasn't the best at taking pictures at all of the different stages so bare with me. The Jeep was EXTREMELY rusty. Rear frame was pretty much gone as well as the entire tub. My goal for the Jeep is NOT to restore it back to a nice and shiny Jeep that I'm scared to put a few scratches/dents into but rather a respectable trail machine that gets the job done. Eventually I'll be doing a decent paint job on it but for now a rattle can job will do as I focus on the drive train and getting the Jeep to be mechanically where I want it be. I also do not have tons of money to throw at it either. All of the work was done by myself with the help of a few friends. This is definitely a budget build. As of right now I have just over 2k total into this Jeep. Alright enough talk, its time for some pictures. I will do my best to recall everything i have done but I'm sure I will be forgetting some things. For those that just want to see a before and after here you go:
The day I brought the beast home:
What the CJ looks like currently (this picture was taken in early August
Now onto the build.
You can see the rust problems with the tub. This is actually probably one of the better areas. The previous owner really liked spray foam and used it EVERYWHERE. If there was a hole he filled it with foam.
The more I looked into the tub the worse it got.
I started looking for a replacement tub and found one that was in much better shape but still far from perfect (which means CHEAP haha). I almost used a YJ tub but found this CJ one that I decided to go with instead.
Started working on some patch panels to repair the new tub.
After all of the patch panels were in place and welded and sanded down I filled it in with some fiberglass reinforced bondo and called it good. I'm hoping this winter to do a decent paint job on it (thinking dark silver or gun metal gray at the moment)
Not quite finished sanding in this pic but you get the idea
It was finally time to tear the Jeep apart now that I had the replacement tub ready to go on and start repairing the frame. Called over a few buddy’s to help me lift the tub off but discovered it was easier to just pull the tub apart. By pulling apart I mean we literally just pulled it apart. haha
Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures showing how bad the rear frame rails and cross member wwere but I’m sure you can visualize how bad they were after seeing the rest of the Jeep. I finally took the saw and cut off the rear sections right above the axle and started fabricating some new frame rails up. These are just temporarily tacked in place. Much more bracing was added later.
On the passenger side of the frame by the front spring hanger the frame was starting to rot so added some additional bracing and beefed things up a bit.
A couple boxes of sanding discs and a few bags of sand blast sand later I put on a few coats of Rustoleum semi gloss black and called it good.
Lifted the gas tank back into the frame and bolted it back in:
I know I wanted to Herculine the tub so after I set the tub back on the frame I went to work sanding/prepping the inside for the liner. Everything went smoothly as expected. When I bought the new body mounts I decided to go with a 1” body lift just to give me a bit more clearance above the frame.
After the Herculiner dried I started putting the rest of the body back together.
After what seemed like eternity (a little over two months) I finally rolled the Jeep out of the shop and hosed it off.
Ill try and post up another update later this afternoon. Until then
Much more than I anticipated that is for sure. The pictures really don't do justice to how bad of condition the Jeep really was in and how much work it took to get it to the point it is now (even though the before and after pic pretty much looks like i just installed a lift and some bigger tires )
It has been a LONG time since I posted an update on the Jeep. While it's still not "pretty" alot of updates and improvements have been made. I realize I am going about this a bit backwards but I started losing track of all of the work and the order of which I did it so some of the pictures may be out of sequence.
I purchased a used soft top at a swap meet
After I installed the soft top I went ahead and started bolting the seats and the rest of the interior back in place
After the interior was in I took it out for its first real drive down some of the dirt roads by my house. Everything went pretty good.
Until I left it parked long enough to see how much oil it was leaking from just about EVERYWHERE.
Decided that I was going to “finish” the body/sheet metal work before I started replacing the gaskets/seals and went to the store and picked up a few cans of semi gloss black.
A week or so later I pulled the drive train to start replacing all of the gaskets and seals to try and get a handle on all of the leaks. First thing I did was replace this valve cover:
With this one:
Then I pulled off the front clip and out came the motor.
I didn’t take any pictures but I ended up replacing the oil pan gasket, rear main seal, valve cover & distributor gasket on the motor. All seals in the transmission and T-case along with the pinion seals in both axles. The Jeep was 100% LEAK FREE for about 2 weeks until a small leak from the gear box started. Oh well…It was nice while it lasted haha
After I got everything back together I started working on building some bumpers. The main bumpers are 2x4x3/16. I started with the rear bumper first:
Used the plasma to burn the holes through both sides of the bumper for the receiver and shackle mounts so I could weld them on both sides for strength.
After I got the base of the rear bumper roughed in I started on the swing out. I used a 1” spindle and bearings. The material I used for the swing out is 2x2x3/16 as well. I also made the main part of the front bumper at this time.
When I replaced my rear cross member I used a piece of 2x4x1/4” square tubing so I did not have a way to mount the bumper in the original fashion. I made these mounts (4 of them) that are welded to the rear cross member and to the bumper.
After making sure everything was where I wanted it to be I started tack welding some things in place.
Made a mount for the Hi-Lift and put on the spare tire to see how it handled the weight. Everything went great. I even sat on the swingout after and swung back and forth. Definitely seems plenty strong.
Went and finished up the front bumper. Decided to add a hoop to protect the winch that I plan on getting shortly and also a place to mount the fairlead.
At this point I was in a huge rush to get everything together for a trip we had planned in Grayling during the winter. I mounted up a winch and added a set of Hella 500’s and headed north
Next update will be the Spring Over swap and pretty much end where the jeep sits currently.
After taking the Jeep on a few short wheeling trips I was ready for a lift. I read countless threads on the pro's and con's of going SOA vs SUA and eventually decided that SOA was what I wanted. So the tear down began. I started on the rear axle first and built some new spring perches.
I used YJ rear leafs which are great for articulation but very prone to wrap so I started on an antiwrap bar setup. I can't find any pictures of the cross member I made but it mounted at the rear of the tcase and spans between the frame rails and loops over top of the driveshaft.
Found some scrap steel in the shed and decided to make a simple truss. Far from pretty but will be more than adequate for what I need. And yes I realize it it isn't level.
Burned everything in
Realized the axle brackets I planned on using were not going to work after the truss so I made new ones and tacked them in.
After getting everything finalized and fully welded I slapped on a coat of paint and reassembled everything and rolled it outside.
Buddies?...you guys look more like triplets with those sweet super trooper 'staches,
Looks like alot of work, the finished product is looking good!
'84 CJ-7: Yota axles (spartan locked front, e-locked rear) 4" BDS, 1" Daystar & 3/8" shackle lifts, 35" X-Terrains on steelies, YJ Tub & family roll bar, heater blower upgrade, 4.2L w/MC2100 & Team Rush, Warn 8274. Rebuilt 4.2/4.0 hybrid, AX15 and twin sticks/clocking ring waiting to go in.
The advertised position for a topless, dirty jeep girl has been filled......by my wife. Thanks to all that applied.
<------------and yes, that is her. :-D
I don't have many pictures of switching the front axle over. Essentially all I did was remove the original perches and rotate them 180 degrees on the axle tube. Obviously a bit more precise than that but you get the idea. Checked, double checked, triple checked and then checked the caster again before finally welding the perches.
And sitting back on its own weight again
Started measuring for shocks
Not to bad for a cheap leaf spring setup. I'm actually shocked at how well the suspension works.
Next thing due was to upgrade the tires. In reality it wasn't much of an upgrade at all seeing as how the new tires had less tread than my original 31's but at least it didn't look so funny with the small tires
Sitting next to a friends mostly stock TJ
This is how the Jeep stayed for about a year and a half. Took it on a few small trips up north and to the dunes. Overall the Jeep performed very well and had very few issues.
The brings everything to the current. Mechanically the Jeep has been rock solid for almost 2 years now but it's time to wake it up a bit. Ended up buying a complete 1971 Wagoneer with a 360
Pulled and on the stand. From what I can tell the motor seams to be 100% original and untouched. I pulled a main cap of the crank and they are factory size bearings. Just planning on cleaning the motor up and running it how it is for the time being.
Cleaned up a bit and ready to drop in for the most part.
That's how the Jeep currently sits. I'm waiting on an adapter bushing from Bulltear so I can put a later style (72 and up) flywheel onto the early style (71 and down) flat flange crank. I was told I should have it by the end of next week so I'm hoping next weekend I can set the engine/trans back in. Then its just a few small things and it should be running and driving again. The plan is to put a real paint job on it this spring. Its time for the rattle can paint job to go!