1974 CJ-6, to be used as a hunting/fishing/trail rig. Don't need to run extreme trails, but want it to be more capable than I need it for....basically want to overbuild a little to provide some peace of mind. My theme is to have the classic looks, with more modern perfomance (well, we are talking about a CJ here, but you get the drift). Here is the basic plan, but want to solicit some opinions to see if anybody catches me going off the deep end!
BFG MT 33x12.50 on American Racing 15x10 Outlaw II's. Would like to run 35's at some point, but don't know if I will have the clearance (see suspension section)
Currently has an AMC 304 which is only running on 7 cylinders and showing low compression on the cylinders that are working. Will swap in 360 in the next few weeks. What I want is something reliable and torquey. A little more oomph than stock would be great, but not at the expense of driveability/reliability. And yes, I have considered the SBC swap, but honestly, I don't believe it's cheaper. The engine itself may be cheaper, but the swap costs money. I know a guy who got an engine for free and still spent almost 5 grand on the swap after it was all said and done. Also, it already has a V8 in there, so the AMC 360 is a simple remove and replace. Another thing, while I have no love affair with AMC per se, I do think it's kinda cool to pop the hood and see an AMC v8 still there. Another thing....I'm not asking a lot of the engine....basically, I just want it to start and run reliably. The engine should have sufficient power to move a pretty simple Jeep down the road. My Plan:
- Purchase Reman long block - Any thoughts as to who's a good source?
- Request a bump in cam....nothing major, just a bit more than stock - Any thoughts on a good cam for this app?
- Aftermarket Fuel Injection - Howell? AFI? Powerjection III? (Edelbrock MPFI would be awesome, but too pricey)
- Ignition - DUI? MSD? Also, if I go DUI (won't go to another brand of HEI) should I go the extra mile to have the FI setup provide spark control? Howell and Powerjection III don't have spark control, but AFI does.
- Intake - Have four barrel setup off a full size Jeep, but was wanting to go with and Edelbrock Performer for both performance, and some weight savings. Any thoughts?
- Exhaust - Factory manifolds or Edelbrock Shorty's. Want dual exhaust in frame exiting behind rear wheels...will this mess with the fuel injection setup? What mufflers do you recommend? Flowmasters? Hushpower? Can I fit a crossover in there with the added length of the CJ-6?
Have already had it setup with Rubicon Express 4.5" springs, with M.O.R.E. shackle reversal. Unfortunately, the front lift provided isn't quite 4.5", so I may be stuck with 33x12.50, but would like to go to 35's some day. The front portion of the frame has been reinforced and fish plated where it had cracked (steeing box). Before the repairs, you could turn the stgeering wheel, and the frame would move as much as the tires. After the repairs and the shackle reversal, turning the steering wheel only resulted in the wheels turning! Rear half of frame is untouched but in good shape.
- Front - Tom Woods slip unit to accommodate the shackle reversal up front. Still have original as a spare, but it is not a long slip unit.
- Rear - Stock, Will upgrade when this one dies.
- Current - Dana 30/Dana 44
- Would like - Dana 44 or Currie 9" Front; Currie 9" Rear, and would like them to be CJ Widetrack width for stability, tire/spring clearance, and I also like the look of a slightly wider axle. Would also move to 4 wheel discs at this time. Would run 4.56 gears and am still undecided on the differential setup...leaning toward ARB's for flexibility.
- OVerkill? - Yes, I fully realize this is overkill, however, I feel that with the 360 and oversize tires, the front Dana 30 is on borrowed time. I'm not hard on my vehicles, so it likely would be fine 95% of the time, but I know that the 5% will happen when I'm in the middle of BFE, and am going to have to walk out, potentially with my son in tow, or a deer carcass that could end up going bad loaded on it. Also, the added width and the disc brakes are working into my theme of classic looks with modern performance.
- Currie vs. Others - Not dead set on Currie, but they've got some time in the market and their stuff is proven. Also, at last year's Easter Jeep Safari, their rep told me that he could set me up with pretty basic F&R 9 inchers for 6g's total (still a ton of money, I know....will have to get a loan or something!), while some of the other brands are pushing 5 grand just for the front end alone, pushing 8 grand if it's a pro-rock 60, etc.
- Current - T18 granny low, will keep for now since it has already been converted. Also am running a hydraulic clutch.
- Current - Dana 20 in stock config, but could stand to be refreshed.
- Future - Good question!! Dana 20 with rebuild? Dana 20 with Tera Low? Dana 300 swap? Atlas?
- Currently has factory power steering. When the stock system is tired or fails, I will replace with PSC box/pump. Would also like a tilt column - Flaming River? Idit?
- No Cutting! I always want it to look like a CJ-6. That being said, a little nip or tuck here or there would be acceptable only if absolutely necessary. Also, am not a fan of body lifts, so this makes cutting a possibility if I go to 35's. Am struggling with this one. Any thoughts?
- Paint/body work - Fenders look decent at first glance, but are rusted away where they meet the firewall due to them being cut for header clearance, and harsh rocky mountain winters. This firewall attachment issue has resulted in the only real thing holding the whole front clip on is the body mount under the grill and the two rods going from the grill to the firewall. Aftermarket fenders have a shady reputation....any advice? Also, the driver's side floor board is cracked from body twisting, and the passenger side rear wheel well is separated from the floor board and chewed up a little bit (daily shows through!) from the tire slamming into it.
- Body off or Body on? - I would like to remove the body to be for the body work as I believe it will result in a superior job being performed, especially considering a couple of the hat channels need replacement. How daunting of a task is this? My skills are minimal, so some of the work will be farmed out. Also, if I remove the body, I will also rewire "while I'm in there" with an aftermarket harness. - Thoughts?
- Line-X - If the body comes off, I would like to line the underside, am still debating the inside. I will also rig up some sort of removeable carpet setup.
- Roll Cage - Nothing fancy, absolutely no spider web designs with tube running every which way. Just a simple 6 point cage with the appropriate gusseting, a couple of grab handles, and would really like the front hoop to terminate at the dashboard for strength and footwell clearance, provided the windshield angle isn't too steep to enable the bar to run tightly against the windshield frame (pre-76 frames are more upright I believe). As a point of reference (I know this probably doesn't help,but....) the roll cage that Rick Russell (Sidekick Off Road Maps & Videos Your Best Source of Off Road Information
) put on his AJ-8 rig in his "Aftermarket Jeep" video is exactly what I want.
- Seats - Suspension seats, either Mastercraft Rubicons or their Baja RS. Would also consider one of the cheaper knockoffs.
- Top - Currently have Meyers Hard Top. Would like to switch to a soft top, but the hard top is so fugly that I dig it and am tempted to still hold on to it. Will likely store it.
- Color - Currently still has factory paint and is red. My 8 year old really wants it to be yellow, as his fav Transformers character is Bumblebee. My thoughts are to paint it red if the body stays on, paint it yellow if the body comes off.
My apologies for the long windedness, but I REALLY like to beat a dead horse before money changes hands. For now, I need the engine, so my priority is to decide on an engine manufacturer and which fuel injection setup to go with. This will exhaust my funds for this year. I realize a lot of my plans are very expensive in nature (FI, Currie axles, Mastercraft, etc.), but I don't plan on selling, and I am fully aware of this project taking years to accomplish. I am also not dead set on the expensive stuff, but I don't want to simply rig something together from the junk yard. I know this approach works, but it works best in the hands of a competent mechanic. I am not that, so that's why I am leaning towards a fuel injection kit, as opposed to the Junk Yard TBI approach that so many have had great success with. Also, where I live, there are no junk yards! Nearest one worth "shopping" at is 100 miles away.
After the engine, what should I tackle next? Paint/Body? Front Axle? I will not replace something just to replace it. I will wait until it breaks first.....although if I were to come into some money
, I would consider tackling that front axle just for peace of mind. Peace of mind is a major driver for me!!
Thank you so much for indulging a long winded read!!