Best Way to Ship CJ w/ Soft Top? -

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post #1 of 3 Old 07-22-2007, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
Uncle Russ
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Best Way to Ship CJ w/ Soft Top?

Hi folks, as I was driving through Arkansas yesterday on my way to California, my intake manifold cracked. At least I think it cracked, I developed a horrendous vacuum leak (lost 6" of idle vacuum) about 100 miles east of Little Rock.

I didn't see any obvious causes of the leak and it appeared to come from the vicinity of the #2 & #3 cylinder. Since I have to be at work on Wed, I didn't have time to mess with it on the side of the road nor was I near a shop. I didn't even see a good truck stop as I limped towards Little Rock. I decided shipping it was my only option. Dependable Auto Shippers were the only transporters I was able to reach a live person with and they arranged for me to drop the Jeep off at their agent's location just north of Little Rock. Luckily, my wife and kids were following me in our other car and we were able to condense into one vehicle.

Once there, the local agent took one look at my Jeep and told me he wasn't comfortable shipping a Jeep with a soft top on it, especially since the DAS folks want to ship it on the top row of the carrier. The agents told me I should ship it on the bottom or, better yet, ship it via an enclosed trailer. I'm already paying $1200 for the top-deck open carrier, if I ship it on the bottom I should save some $$. If I ship it enclosed, I spend more (don't know how much yet) but have a better chance of getting the Jeep and top delivered in one piece. Luckily, my wife was following

Was wondering what y'alls experiences are shipping soft-topped Jeeps across the country. Any suggestions? During our cross-country drive, I only saw 1 Jeep getting transported. It was a newer model with a soft top and hard doors. They had it as the last vehicle on the bottom deck. Looked like a good place to be. Anyway, I appreciate any input you guys might have.


1984 CJ7
“When you're swervin' on life's highway, you're runnin' someone off the road."
-- Robert Earl Keen

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post #2 of 3 Old 07-22-2007, 10:43 PM
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It sounds more like you lost an intake gasket than a manifold. The intakes are aluminum, which usually does not crack. You should just have to replace the gasket. This is simple and cheap relative to shipping. Take some WD40 and spray it on the manifold to find your leak. Your idle will change when you find it. Then you know where your work is needed. I can offer two options that I'd personally try before shipping the rig since the fix could be dollars, not multi hundreds like the shipping plans.

1. You could change the gaskets. Simple, but being on the road makes it not so simple, I know. I'd do this myself at the cost of some sleep. You'll need some extra antifreeze to top it back off some way to clamp off the water lines to the manifold. Electrical tap works great once you bend the tube back on itself. Maybe a carb gasket in case you need to remove the carb to gain better access. 1/2" and 9/16" wrenches and sockets should do the trick. You'll probably want an exhaust donut too, they also have tendeny to need replacing if they have been in service a while. The intake and exhaust come as two piece sets, usually, and you may not have to move the exhaust at all, but be ready, exhaust donuts are really cheap.

tools - electrical tape, screwdriver, 9/16" and 1/2" sockets and wrenches. Should be it, maybe a 7/16" wrench if the carb needs to come off.

2. Get some degreaser like brakleen and spray it into your leaky area to clean it good. Use a lot and do it while the engine is running. Then, shut it down and use some silcone to seal it up as best you can without taking it apart. Sure, it's a quickie bandaid, but that should get you moving again. Let the silicone cure as long as possible before running the engine or it will just pull it in from vacuum. Two hour minimum wait there at least. Do'er up, go out to lunch and try her again.

These suggestions are of course, only if you have an intake leak. If you have a cracked exhaust manifold, replacing it will be the only way to fix it and you'll be stuck with the shipping angle unless you can muster a manifold somewhere on your route. If this is the case and you can locate the leak. Clean with brakleen liberally and try some JB weld. That stuff is amazing. Again, another bandaid, but $20 in bandaids could save you that $1200 shipping bill.

On the shipping.
If you can drive it down the road at 60+ with the top on it, what is the difference if it does it on a truck. None in my opinion. Try and get it moved to the bottom deck if you can. I'd skip the enclosed shipping.

Actually, being on top may be a good idea since it would be harder for a ne'erdowell to get up there with a knife and cut your top open and run off with your raddyo daddyo.

I don't see it as an issue, but the shipper may make you signs some waivers to cover their butts. Read them carefully before you sign.

good luck.

Last edited by jeepmor; 07-22-2007 at 11:33 PM.
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post #3 of 3 Old 07-23-2007, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
Uncle Russ
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Jeepmor, thanks for the ideas. I replaced the intake and exhaust manifold gaskets last week, so they are new. During the install, we had to horse around with the exhaust manifold to get it into postion where we could get the bolts in, but we didn't do anything drastic to get it into position. I torqued all the bolts to about 25 ft-lbs (believe the range is 20 to 25) with a torque wrench.

Everything appeared to be working well and we had driven over 300 hundred miles on the interstate with no problems. We went through an area of road construction where they had us driving on the shoulder where I was hitting those deep grooves they cut in the shoulder to wake you up if you drift off. Anyway, it was hard to avoid them and they shook up the Jeep pretty hard. Shortly after that, the engine stopped and that's when I noticed the leak. The engine stoppage was cauased by a loose ignition fuse connection (shaken loose by the grooves) which I was able to quickly reconnect. When I started it, that's when I heard the vacuum leak.

Quick-fix repair is no longer an option since I dropped the Jeep at the shipping agent's location and I'm now in Albuquerque.

Thanks again! I'm going to contact the shipper today to discuss where to place the Jeep on the trailer.

1984 CJ7
“When you're swervin' on life's highway, you're runnin' someone off the road."
-- Robert Earl Keen

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