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Unread 02-04-2015, 07:53 PM   #1
FarmJeepr
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1973 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Walton, WV
Posts: 13
Farm Jeep Build

Hi All! I'm a member from long ago, I had to make a new profile it's been soo long.

Anyhow, about to embark on a new Jeep adventure.

I'm in the planning stages of building a Farm Jeep.

I farm 110 acres in the muddy (very) hills (steep) of WV. We have been using a Polaris Ranger Crew for the farm vehicle but it can't take the mud or the work. The mud is destroying the brakes, steering, suspension components.

I think the Jeep will be more rugged and heavier dutier and stuff.

Current Jeep- 1973 CJ5 bone stock, 258, 3 speed.

Why I like this jeep- I got it for $500, it's bone stock, unadulturated, it was in good shape until I let it sit in the rain for a year now it's rusting. The narrow track axles will be nice to get around the trails that were originally made for the UTV. The short wheel base will also help in this aspect.

What I don't like- narrow track may be a rollover hazard, open diffs will have to be remedied fast, it will never make it up muddy hills, it will need a new soft top, it will need GOOD mud tires, it will need a GOOD heater, needs a front bumper and winch, needs a family roll cage

Plans (open to suggestions that's why I'm posting)
31" Kenda Klever MT tires, I can get a set of 4 mounted for $520. I'm staying relatively small in order to keep the center of gravity low.

Lunchbox lockers front and rear, it will be offroad only...I could do a lincoln locker in the back to save money and time but I don't want it to break, I've seen the welds break, reliability is a big concern

Weld it yourself front bumper kit for cost and time savings

Winch probably Warn for legendary reliability

New top, probably bestop

Weld it yourself family roll cage from extremecustomparts.com

Blazer fan upgrade it's COLD here sometimes

MC2100 carb to wake up the 258

TFI to wake up the 258

I would like to remove Sftuff to reduce the weight. This Jeep will weigh twice as much as the Polaris that it's replacing. The extra weight has the tendency to cause vehicles to slide sideways down hills. Any suggestions as to what I can remove would be great.

Any thoughts?

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Unread 02-05-2015, 02:40 AM   #2
JeepHammer
Running On Empty...
1973 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: South West Indiana
Posts: 11,012
'73 is my 'Farm Jeep' also...
Depending on what you want to do...
And some of what I've done.

The 'TeamRush' upgrade is out.
Factory '73 had Delco Remy breaker point distributor.

The cheapest, most reliable ignition upgrade is an actual Delco Remy HEI distributor from '76 Chevy Blazer with 250 CID I-6 engine.
This particular unit has a coil wire, the coil IS NOT in the distributor cap,
And it uses the more powerful E-core coil.

You will have to change the distributor gear and remove the ceramic block resistor for maximum efficiency.

----

You have a Dana 44 rear axle, so no AMC 20 issues and money dump.
That will save you cubic dollars right there!

You will have an early Dana 30 in the front, with the 'Snubber' flange on the housing.
I use a snubber. Most will be rotted off by now...

You will have DRUM brakes all the way around.
Disks for the front are recommended, when you find a donor, take the entire steering knuckle, axle shafts and all.
Much more simple when you change to everything that matches.

You will have to get a master cylinder that supports disk brakes, and a combo/safety valve.

-----

Things to watch for,
Externally regulated alternators are expensive.
A Delco Remy SI or CS conversion is cheap and works better.
You have an 'Amps' light ('Idiot' light) in the instrument cluster,
So the SI or CS swap is a snap on wiring.

Look for a crack inside the frame, just forward of the passenger side front tire.
These frames are famous for that crack.
Drill the ends of the crack when it appears to stop it,
Weld up the crack,
Weld in an 'Hour Glass' ('fish plate') over the crack and that will solve the problem.

Since you are off road only, and since you have a T-90 three speed trans,
Consider a regear in the 4.11:1 range.
It's a pain in the butt to regear, but since you have NARROW SPRINGS, the likelihood of finding axles with deep gears is slim.
Your clutch and trans will REALLY appreciate the deeper gears, especially with taller tires.

The Dana 20 transfer case could use a little deeper gears in low range,
But if you go with deeper axle gears it won't complain much.
I switched to a Dana 300 and it wasn't worth the trouble or expense after the axle gear swap.

The only other thing I can think of is the wiper motor.
Salvage or keep a keen eye out for wiper motor and linkage.
It's hard to find and expensive when you wait until something breaks and then look for the parts.

My manual steering box was SCREWED when I got mine... Uncontrollable!
Turns out Collins Brothers in Texas, usually VERY high on parts,
Has a pile of new old stock ones, and for cheap.
Brand new, still in an AMC box for $130 delivered to my door step!
Don't know if they still have them that cheap, but if you need one, I'd check with them...

As for heater or defrosters...
Good luck with that!
I had to make up a 'Buck', use Dacron and fiberglass resin to make up a defroster/heater duct that took a bigger heater core and fan motor to get heat/defroster, and it still doesn't work all that great...
But at least the defroster doesn't blow snow on the windshield anymore!
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Unread 02-05-2015, 05:44 AM   #3
FarmJeepr
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1973 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Walton, WV
Posts: 13
Thanks for the quick and thorough reply JeepHammer.

Question, if I regeared the axles would you recommend any different traction device than a lunchbox locker?
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Unread 02-05-2015, 10:17 AM   #4
JeepHammer
Running On Empty...
1973 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: South West Indiana
Posts: 11,012
Not for plowing around in mud.
If you were highway driving quite a bit, I would recommend a selectable or True Trac in the back for better highway manners,
But if its staying on the farm, no issues with a lunch box in the front with lockouts.

I ran mine quite a while with just an Aussie lunchbox in the front and didn't have issues with it.
I worked front to rear, when I got to the rear, there was a True Track laying here, so it went in.
The True Track isn't a big deal when in 4WD, where the True Track shines is when I'm in 2WD.
Good traction, nothing stupid like full on lockers do on the roads.

I drive mine 17 miles to town and back...

I would think a lunchbox would be plenty for what you want.
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Unread 02-05-2015, 03:30 PM   #5
OleBlue73
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1973 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: , Tennessee
Posts: 556
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepHammer
'73 is my 'Farm Jeep' also... Depending on what you want to do... And some of what I've done. The 'TeamRush' upgrade is out. Factory '73 had Delco Remy breaker point distributor. The cheapest, most reliable ignition upgrade is an actual Delco Remy HEI distributor from '76 Chevy Blazer with 250 CID I-6 engine. This particular unit has a coil wire, the coil IS NOT in the distributor cap, And it uses the more powerful E-core coil. You will have to change the distributor gear and remove the ceramic block resistor for maximum efficiency. ---- You have a Dana 44 rear axle, so no AMC 20 issues and money dump. That will save you cubic dollars right there! You will have an early Dana 30 in the front, with the 'Snubber' flange on the housing. I use a snubber. Most will be rotted off by now... You will have DRUM brakes all the way around. Disks for the front are recommended, when you find a donor, take the entire steering knuckle, axle shafts and all. Much more simple when you change to everything that matches. You will have to get a master cylinder that supports disk brakes, and a combo/safety valve. ----- Things to watch for, Externally regulated alternators are expensive. A Delco Remy SI or CS conversion is cheap and works better. You have an 'Amps' light ('Idiot' light) in the instrument cluster, So the SI or CS swap is a snap on wiring. Look for a crack inside the frame, just forward of the passenger side front tire. These frames are famous for that crack. Drill the ends of the crack when it appears to stop it, Weld up the crack, Weld in an 'Hour Glass' ('fish plate') over the crack and that will solve the problem. Since you are off road only, and since you have a T-90 three speed trans, Consider a regear in the 4.11:1 range. It's a pain in the butt to regear, but since you have NARROW SPRINGS, the likelihood of finding axles with deep gears is slim. Your clutch and trans will REALLY appreciate the deeper gears, especially with taller tires. The Dana 20 transfer case could use a little deeper gears in low range, But if you go with deeper axle gears it won't complain much. I switched to a Dana 300 and it wasn't worth the trouble or expense after the axle gear swap. The only other thing I can think of is the wiper motor. Salvage or keep a keen eye out for wiper motor and linkage. It's hard to find and expensive when you wait until something breaks and then look for the parts. My manual steering box was SCREWED when I got mine... Uncontrollable! Turns out Collins Brothers in Texas, usually VERY high on parts, Has a pile of new old stock ones, and for cheap. Brand new, still in an AMC box for $130 delivered to my door step! Don't know if they still have them that cheap, but if you need one, I'd check with them... As for heater or defrosters... Good luck with that! I had to make up a 'Buck', use Dacron and fiberglass resin to make up a defroster/heater duct that took a bigger heater core and fan motor to get heat/defroster, and it still doesn't work all that great... But at least the defroster doesn't blow snow on the windshield anymore!
He has a T14 stock with a 6 cylinder, correct? A T90 was pre 72.
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2009 JKU, Rubicon
2005 TJ, X, 4.0, 6 speed
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Unread 02-05-2015, 03:43 PM   #6
Newbjeep
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1972 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Arlington, Wa
Posts: 648
I thought he'd have a t15 like i had before I swapped to the t18
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Unread 02-05-2015, 03:45 PM   #7
OleBlue73
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1973 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: , Tennessee
Posts: 556
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbjeep
I thought he'd have a t15 like i had before I swapped to the t18
That's with a v8 stock most likely. Mine has a t15 stock.
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1973 CJ5, 304, T15, D20
2009 JKU, Rubicon
2005 TJ, X, 4.0, 6 speed
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Unread 02-05-2015, 03:47 PM   #8
Newbjeep
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1972 CJ5 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OleBlue73 View Post
That's with a v8.
Oh ok didn't know it'd change with the i6 good to know
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Unread 02-06-2015, 02:06 AM   #9
jeepdaddy2000
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1971 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Secret Squirrel hideout, afghanistan
Posts: 6,525
The T14 came stock behind the I6 from 72-75. It is a weak transmission and will need some attention when abusing it. An upgrade to a T15, 150, or a four speed will cure it's reliability issues.

IMHO, too many people overthink the wide track versus narrow track issue. there are only a couple of inches difference, and those can be made up with a set of quality wheel spacers if it comes down to it.

The stock 72 and later heater boxes will do nicely. Google "fan upgrade" for added heat.

The defroster ducts are actually an easy fix. Drop the windshield, and using a section of that (NEW!!) blue plastic pooper RV hose, squeeze it in the defroster duct hole on the top of the body. Do this from the bottom, and it is helpful to connect your defroster hose prior to installation. It will be an exact fit, and if you leave about a 1/2" of protruding above the deck, it will contact the windshield frame on the bottom, providing a seal right up into the frame itself. I believe the hose is 4", so you will have to seal your existing defroster hose to it. This can be done with something as simple as duct tape. I did this back in the early ninety's and was amazed to have working defrosters for the first time.

If it has manual steering, do yourself a favor and upgrade to power. The boxes, hoses, pumps, and (sometimes) the brackets can be sourced used at the u pick yard for cheap.

Take a HARD look at your clutch linkage and the body mount below it. These are very prone to wear and if bad enough the bellcrank will pop off the pivot ball, leaving you without the ability to disengage the clutch.

Personally, I would drive it first before doing any intake or other power mods. You may find it performs well in stock trim. As mentioned earlier, an upgrade to an electronic ignition system will save you the hassle of dealing with points every 3-5K miles.
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Unread 02-06-2015, 08:40 AM   #10
Pathkiller
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1974 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Gaborone, Botswana
Posts: 2,628
The blazer fan motor upgrade won't work on your model of Jeep unless you retrofit the entire heater box from the 78-86 version. For all the trouble that would be a far easier solution is to use an aftermarket heater. I've heard many good things about the Mojave heater from Summit Racing.

That said, there's nothing at all wrong with the stock heater. I took mine (a 74 model, but same as your 73) completely apart and put new neoprene rubber in the flaps, boiled out the heater core, sealed it all very well with butyl caulk, and ran the wiring to the motor through a relay to give the motor as much voltage as possible and it works very well, and the defrost works okay (though no CJ is ever going to have a GREAT defrost system, the setup just isn't optimal for moving a lot of air across the windshield).

The rest of your upgrades sound practical and feasible. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The stock 11" drum brakes work pretty well if they are maintained properly. But if you're doing many water crossings you'll find out quickly that they suck when wet (ie, they don't really work at all!). You can drill the drums, which is said to improve wet braking enormously, and doesn't cost anything but your time. (Same concept as drilled and slotted rotors).
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Unread 02-06-2015, 08:56 AM   #11
steve1973
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1973 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Charlestown, Rhode Island
Posts: 189
Keep in mind if you go from 3.73's to 4.11, 4.27 or more you will need new carriers. For the low end crawl you want, it might make more sense to swap in a t-18 with the 6.2 granny gear and keep your D20.

Ignition upgrade is a must. Another option to replace points is to use a Pertronix igniter, quality coil, cap, rotor, wires and a MSD box. You will need to bypass the fusible link wire, but keep it in the harness if you want to keep a set of points in the toolbox for on trail repairs.

The heater is what it is.
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Unread 02-08-2015, 12:58 PM   #12
FarmJeepr
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1973 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Walton, WV
Posts: 13
Ok, so I've priced all of the mods and realized to do everything I talked about it would cost about $4k...

So, I'm rethinking a lot of the mods and I may start very basic and cheap and go from there.

MUST haves: mud tires, locked rear end, roll bar

Latest plan:

New 31" MUDs
Lincoln locker
Try to find a local stock car builder to make a roll cage

Future plans:

T18
Front lunchbox locker
Thanks for all of the input and helping me get hunk this through!

I'll update as I go. The next step is a trip to FL to pick up the Jeep which should happen soon!
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Unread 02-09-2015, 09:23 AM   #13
JeepHammer
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1973 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: South West Indiana
Posts: 11,012
Not to beat the mule here...
I think you are going to find that short/narrow wheel base gets around pretty darn good just the way it is!
I had CJ-7s for years, they couldn't keep up with the little, short Willys and CJ-5s I had when younger.

What I didn't know when I was 15, and what people don't understand today is,
The early CJs were built like tractors, low gears, short/narrow wheel base,
With reasonable size and grip lug tires, they REALLY get around well if there is ANY traction to be had...

Too tall a tire kills the final drive gear ratio, and taller tires kills the leverage the brakes have.
Stupid tall tires are the quickest way to kill performance, on or off the highway.

--------

LOCKED FRONT will do you more good than a locked rear.
The weight on these little Jeeps is 80% front... Put the traction under the weight.
Much easier to pull a load than to push it.
The lunch box locker for the front is about $200, with about another $40 for seals while the front is open.

For REASONABLE final drive ratio, you are thinking correctly when it comes to tire size.
31" is VERY reasonable, and a lot of people make 31" mud tires that work pretty well.
I actually ran into some mud tires that worked pretty well, 'Mud Star' tires from 'Big O', under $500 mounted, balanced & installed, WITH ROAD HAZARD WARRANTY...
I cut a sidewall on the second trip out, Big O replaced it for free!

Don't forget METAL valve stems!
Metal valve stems with good caps will save you a bunch of grief in mud/rocks/gravel.

------------

Once you make it 'GO'...

Properly maintained and adjusted DRUM brakes stop fine ONCE... And that's if they aren't wet...
Since you have about an 80% weight/brake bias to the front, Front discs are the way to get that little beast stopped.

The first rusted out, back fence row Jeep you run across with the front axle still under it,
The disc brake upgrade is cheap and SERIOUSLY effective.
SOFT brake lines, ball studs (Spicer or Moog), seals and maybe a drag link depending on what the steering arms look like.
If the donor has disc brakes, it will have a proportioning valve, snatch it and the lines for a low buck swap.

I didn't have an issue with getting around with the front locker installed first,
But when I got brave with the added traction,
STOPPING became an issue!!!
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Unread 02-09-2015, 11:23 AM   #14
scoutboater
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FWIW, the front axle on my '74 is Lincoln locked. I know it's not ideal, but from what my dad tells me it has been in there for nearly 40 years. He used to wheel it hard, and never tore that out. He broke a few axles and stripped a couple of transmissions, but the Lincoln locker survives.
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Unread 02-13-2015, 02:22 PM   #15
FarmJeepr
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1973 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Walton, WV
Posts: 13
-31" tires are good ratio, check
-Disc brakes maybe should be near the top of the list, I live in mud
-if traction is an issue lunchbox or Lincoln lock the front first, check
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