I've "refreshed" a couple of Jeeps over the past few years, and thought that this time I'd record my progress-or lack thereof-and others on the forum can laugh at me or cry with me as I blunder through this rig. This will not
be a frame off resto, but merely my attempt at bringing this Jeep back up to being a joy to drive and look somewhat appealing from 10 feet away. I'm a total amateur, but have a complete mental illness for tinkering on these things.
This particular vehicle is a 1981 CJ-5. My nextdoor neighbor purchased it in 2004. He owned a CJ when he attended the Citadel, and always wanted another. Upon purchase, the tub was rusted out so it was swapped. The frame was blasted and repainted. Unfortunately, his interest in the vehicle wained (he wanted this to be his son's Jeep-but the son didn't want it). So it has been sitting in his driveway for 8 years, with only a bikini top, slowly deteriorating in the elements.
My neighbor decided to put it up for sale last year. It sat on Craigslist with a bite here and there, and one day to my surprise I find that he had hacked the fenders up and put TJ flares on it
. He'd crank it up occassionally (I could tell the fuel bowl was going dry as it'd take him forever to get it started), and I could hear a mean exhaust leak. I walked over one day to just "check it out" and saw the 304 sitting in there, and that's when the lovefest started (not with my neighbor, but the Jeep).
Neighbor is not a salesman. The pics he posted on Craigslist were awful, and the Jeep was muddy. Not really the "look" you want when you are trying to sell it to someone. He had it listed for $3,250, and people would come check it out, but then walk away. Finally, I'd had enough one morning after hearing him start it, and I told him I wanted to inspect the vehicle and take it for a spin. It was time for INTERVENTION!! The Jeep is solid. It's not original by any stretch, as someone down the line had swapped in the 304/T150/D20 to replace the 4 banger. I had to have it. I stroked him a check for $2,900.00 and drove it 100 feet over to my house. Here she is the day I brought her home and cleaned her up. The pic does it justice; it's a little rougher looking than this really shows.
Sorry for the "War and Peace" intro to this car, but figured one or two of you may have been interested in the background. My original plan was to keep the total costs of the rebuild to under 1k, but I'm already there. My new goal is to try to keep it under 1,500. We'll see!!
So here is what has happened so far- when I drove it to the house, my wife said "it smells like gasoline-it's stinky". Well, the gas tank was leaking as it had a million pinholes in it. So the first thing needed was a new gas tank (I went ahead and ordered new fuel hoses and sending unit just to be done with it.
New tank vs old...
When I dropped the tank, the skidplate had some nice rust. Rather than spend 70 bucks on a new plate, I patched up the old one, cleaned it and POR 15'd the whole mess (by the way, the skidplate bolts on the rear of the frame have always annoyed me, I welded new bolts in from the topside so I don't have to deal with "spinning" nuts that aren't captive). At this point I was using fluxcore wire on the MIG, so it's a little ugly and I kept finding that I was blowing through the skidplate. "Ironworker" on this board was a huge help on educating me that I need to go with 75/25 gas on the MIG, so that's what I'm using from here on out for the rest of my repairs. I wasn't overly concerned with the appearance on this since the patch welds face toward the front of the vehicle.
The new tank is in (what a pain getting it back in there by myself-the floor jack was helpful). Next up are the new debacles I'm facing.