Bob’s “What the heck was I thinking” build… ’80 CJ-5
I’m part way through the build now. I’ve been debating whether or not to start a build thread, but I figured I enjoyed watching everyone else’s… why not? Besides, this is certainly the first time I’ve ever done anything like this… and very well may be the last. This Jeep Forum has been good to me so far. I have learned a lot and this may be a way to ‘give back’ a little.
Since I am part way into this thing, I’ll give ya’ll a little back ground. I had a 1977 CJ-5 for about 2 years when I stumbled on this 1980. The 1977 had more problems than the 1980, so I sold the 1977 for about a $1000 loss (Yeah… really living the Jeep dream now!) and bought the 1980. The ’80 had some issues too (shot 4-cyl, had to double clutch to keep from grinding gears, significant holes in the floor and other parts of the body), but we tooled around in it for about 10 years or so. I always wanted to fix her up when my stepson laid a worn out 351W on me and I thought… “yeah, I’ll just rebuild this engine and drop it in” (pause while you finish laughing ). Anyway, got started on this thing and ya’ll know how it is… one thing leads to another to the point I am now doing a full frame off resto-mod. I am farming out welding and body work and trying to do everything else myself. I’ve been at it for about 2 years now and have more money sunk into it than I could sell it for if it were already finished… “what the heck was I thinking”!
I’ll start posting some pictures from the beginning and add some along and along until we get to where I am now. So, here we go…
Basic 1980 CJ-5... nothing special
Anemic 4-cyl… but it always started when I needed it to. It was on the continuous oil change program, you know between burning oil, leaking and adding more, the oil probably got changed about once a year.
351W bored .030” over. Sorry I do not have any pics of it before the tear down. This was fresh from the machine shop. The block, crank and heads (rebuild) were pretty much all that remains of the original engine.
"what the heck was i thinking"! Don't worry, nothings wrong with you. your just like everybody else on this forum, you LOVE your jeep. when i got my 79, i wanted to put it on the road so bad i did, what i consider now a half@$# job on the resto, it doesn't look too bad i've seen worse, but i want a do over. tear it down and start over. all i need now is the money!!!hahaha good luck with yours.
GOOD looking Jeep! I'd be PROUD to own it!
No 'NEON', no wing on top the hard top, It's not lowered, it looks VERY capable!
I don't see a thing wrong with it!
And as for your 'Tinkering', Kept you from spending money on drugs, booze and hookers!
Although I like to see 'Jeep' engines in Jeeps,
If you are giving a 4 banger the boot, ANY V-8 is fair game!
By going Ford/Ford with engine/transmission it took a TON of the mating issues out of the picture!
You simply CAN NOT go wrong with the T-18! Just one durable transmission!
And there are a TON of T-cases that will bolt up to it, so that's not an issue...
I keep telling people,
If you are going with a Ford engine, step up to the 351W instead of the 302 (5.0L) engines everyone wants to use...
50 more cubic inches for free, the crank will take up to 750 horse power from the factory, and it's VERY compact...
Everyone makes something for them, and most of it works...
(Unlike trying to find 'performance' parts for an AMC V-8 off the shelf in a lot of places!)
Now, I don't want to give you any Expen$sive Idea$....
But you do know there are manifolds to mate Cleveland heads with canted valve angles to that Winsor block...
Worth about 35 more horse power just bolting them on...
Not that you would want to wind that engine up to find those 35+ horse power, just saying...
Looks like you are on the DOWNHILL SIDE of this project...
Don't worry about expense, they don't eat much once they are done, and if it puts a smile on your face, Then it's all worth it!
So at this point, I got busy building the engine. Again, sorry, I didn’t take any pictures of the engine build, but here is a run down on what when on it:
rebuild stock heads
borded 0.030” over
Comp cam (35-235-3)
Comp springs, lifters, pushrods and roller tipped rockers
Sealed Power hyperutectic pistons with Total Seal gapless rings
Edelbrock 2181 aluminum intake
I plan to run a Holley 4-barrel Truck Avenger and headers… anyone want to guess what kinda power I might get out of this engine? I am hoping for about 300 HP, do ya’ll think it’ll get there? This is my first engine build… I’m just hoping it cranks!
I bagged the engine and turned my attention to the T-18. Again, first time I ever opened up a transmission. I cleaned it up, took it apart and ordered a full rebuild kit from Novak. And here’s what really stung… I am keeping the D300 so I had to get Novak’s T-18 to D300 conversion kit… $$$ OUCH!, that hurt! But I guess hobbies are suppose to be expensive. The rebuild and conversion were not too bad… again, I just hope it works. Some pics…
Trying to keep everything straight...
Getting it back together...
And here is the final product... note the Novak conversion adapter.
With engine and trans complete, I started to tear down the Jeep itself. I worked on it for an afternoon. I knew I was not going to do any of the body work myself and had a question for my body man. When I mentioned I was starting the Jeep tear down, he indicated that business was slow and if I would consider letting him do the work for me. I said ‘sure’ and loaded up what I had left and hauled it to him. (About 12 miles away.) He finished the tear down and began sand-blasting the frame. To my surprise, the frame is in really good condition. A PO has sprayed undercoating on everything beneath the Jeep which helped protect the frame. Also, the engine had such a bad oil leak, most of the frame was coated in oil… which also helped protect it. He also sand blasted the axles. After painting the frame and axles with a chassis paint, I brought them back to my shop so I could work on the rolling chassis while he works on the body.
I also picked up the old engine/trans/transfer case from my body man. I knew I wanted to keep the transfer case (D300) and was lucky enough to find a local man that wanted the engine/trans (SR4) which were no good to me.
Now for the D300… I figured I needed to rebuild it as with the transmission. However, when I drained the oil, and removed the inspection plate… I could not find anything wrong. I contacted several vendors who make rebuild kits (including Novak), explained what I saw and finally came to the conclusion not to rebuild. All the gears looked good, no leaks (as far as I can tell), no excessive slop or movement in any of the components. I hope this does not come back to bite me, but I decided to just clean it up, throw on some paint and go with it.
i love it! one thought on the motor, talk to some people who have run total seal rings in street engines. ive built a number of racing and street motors, and total seals are great for racing 1-2% leak down. but on the street, in my opinion they work almost too good, crankase needs very good venting and effective compression is up, hard on starters etc. im not saying dont use them, just ask around before you do. im looking forward to watching your progress, i had the duke also but went sbc, my mistake, ive only got 3000mi on it and im dreaming of sbf's.
you are doing EXACTLY what I would do.
When I take transmissions that I'm not familiar with apart, that's EXACTLY what I do, Piece by piece, laid out in order, Inspect for damage and order what I need to repair the unit,
Then when I go to put it back together, EVERYTHING is in order and I don't have to 'Fish' for anything.
You do GOOD work! The trans looks very good!
Have you turned the input shaft and run through the gears? Everything should come up fine...
Manual gear boxes are pretty easy as long as you don't loose the parts!
The horsepower output of your engine will depend on the head tube size, Maximum RPM and your fuel/ignition tune.
Since you are going to be running at fairly low RPM, stick with a camshaft that has fairly long duration, and good overlap, A 'Torque' cam.
Longer, smaller tube headers (Before the collector) will give you higher torque readings, while shorter, Fatter tubes will give you more horsepower.
Longer, smaller tubes give better scavenging so you make more power lower in the RPM range, better for street driven vehicles since most street driven vehicles never get into the RPM ranges where short, fat tubes work.
2181 intake will give you a good street performance at lower RPM.
Stick with 1.5" header tubes, or 1-5/8" header tubes since the intake doesn't flow HUGE numbers, and you will keep all your low end driveability.
That particular intake is a little restrictive, but it works fine for Jeeps since we normally don't flog the crap out of them for the very last RPM we can find!
Don't go stupid big on the carb, around 650 CFM should make you a very fuel efficient package and still make a TON of torque when you get off idle,
Power should start around 1,500-1,700 RPM and stay pulling hard all the way through about 5,500-6,000.
You will run out of carb, intake and exhaust all about the same time. right around 5,000 RPM.
Those bushed factory style cast iron rods run out of warranty right around 6,000-6,500 RPM, so the engine should hold together without any issues!
The cam you picked is pretty good, but won't be the low speed 'Crawler' cam some guys are looking for.
It's going to be a little sluggish out of the hole,
And it's going to be a little 'Lumpy' but the extra cubic inches are going to tame that down a little.
The advertisement says 1,200 RPM, but it's going to be more like 1,500 and maybe a little more before it comes alive.
REALLY good for street driving, not so hot for stop and go or idling along in low lock trying to squeak through an obstacle.
If you are a 'Right Foot' driver, it's PERFECT.
You *SHOULD* Have a pretty good combination for engine components, you didn't go stupid large on any parts, and if you keep your RPM limit reasonable (Around 5,500 RPM) you should be fine.
I'd say good choices all around...
Keep your final drive gear ratio reasonable, and I'd say you have a winner!
In the mean time, my buddy is working on the body. Typical body rot. I considered replacing the tub but after talking to the body guy, we decided to just replace the floor pan and he could fix everything else. I’ve seen enough of others projects on JF to know that my body was not in as bad a shape as some, but when someone else is doing the work for you, you gotta weight cost… his time ain’t free like mine is. I decided to let someone else do the body work because I have no experience with body work at all and did not want to slow the project down as I have only so much time I can devote to this build without ignoring my family and other obligations around the house.
He welded some bracing in the tub and cut the floor out. I ordered a new floor and toe board supports which have been installed at this point… but still lots of holes to fix.
As for the starter, I've already got a Powermaster 9604 mini starter... not using a "stock" type starter, so I'm hoping it will have no problem cranking it over. rodjr, the rings are already in, so I'm committed now!
JeepHammer... the reason I am have selected the majority of engine parts as I have is, as you kinda indicated, the Jeep will probably end up 98% of the time on the street as opposed to a lot of off road work. So, making a good street driver is kind of the first priority. I don't think it will be pig on the trail though... maybe a few compromises but I hope everything will work out OK. For example, as you discussed about the cam, I hoping even though the cam is not a 'crawlers' dream cam, that coupled with the granny low of the T-18 should still leave me pretty capable on the trail. And speaking of the carb... your'e right, I am looking at the Holley 670 cfm... I think it will be perfect for the engine as I am building it.
Yeah, after I finished the tranny rebuild, I turned the input shaft (by hand) and ran through all the gears... everythings seems to be OK and the ratios seemed to count out right.
My wife and I have had German Shepherds for over 25 years. We lost our last one to cancer this past summer. (RIP – Dakota) Boy did he love to ride in that old Jeep. Well, for the first time in over 25 years, we do not have a dog… and that has been a big problem for us. So, we have been in touch with a breeder and hope to have a GSD puppy around Christmas. With that in mind, we have decided to install a tailgate in this Jeep…
And this is how it sits right now... still rough, but it's getting there.
Now, back to the chassis. I decided to ditch the old worn out springs and do an OME YJ spring conversion with 2.5” of lift. I picked up a lot of pointers on Matt1881CJ7’s thread on the subject, especially about turning the shims on the front leaf pack… I would have missed that (thanks for the thread Matt). I bought new shackle hangers from Jim1611 (Crabtree Tool & Die) and if you are considering this conversion, I can absolutely recommend these mounts… probably be the stoutest thing on this Jeep when I’m done. FYI, I am also using new bolts just about everywhere… G8 and stainless where appropriate with either anti-seize or thread locker as required.
New versus old shackle hangers... no comparison!
Getting the rears on...
This saved some cussing...
Used YJ spring plates, bought appropriate sized bolts to weld on for shock mounts... I think they came out pretty good.
Now, I struggled with this for a while. Trying to get the new springs/bushings in the mount was difficult until I figured out this trick to spread the mount enough for the bushings to slip in easily... this idea worked great.
Using new U-bolts, everythings coming together well.
I'm sorry I missed the start of this build. If this was the first time you ever tore into a transmission I want to commend you on a most excellent job!! That is purely outstanding work. In fact, your whole build and shop are disgustingly CLEAN!! The 351 is a great engine. The T18 is a great tranny. The D300 is a great Tcase. Heck of a start and I'm sure it didn't cost a dime! What were you thinkin? Is that a V-Max sitting in your shop??
__________________ Kerrdog Go Fish! <*////><
But the right word at the right time... "Hey, give me a little hug!" That's the difference between lightning and a harmless lightning bug!