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Unread 01-08-2012, 07:49 AM   #1
tlannom
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Install Lockers or Mall Queen? Need Help Deciding

My wonderful wife has graciously said go spend some money on your Jeep for your birthday. My budget is somewhere around $2500. I'm torn between making it better at wheeling or looking good. I don't ever plan to do any serious wheeling, but since the Jeep has a LS1 engine even moderate wheeling will quickly break stuff. The Jeep will ultimately spend about 90% of its time being driven around town. Below are my choices:

PLAN A:

Install lockers- I would like to install selectable lockers but I'm concerned that putting lockers into an AMC 20 and Dana 30 with a LS1 engine is a waste of money. Would a trussed AMC 20 with single piece axles (which are already installed) withstand the power? I could upgrade axles but I don't want a wider stance and I only have $2500 to spend.

PLAN B:

I have a friend that owns a restoration shop and for $2500 I can get one heck of a paint job (would include me doing most of the tear down work). If I get it painted, the likely outcome would be my wheeling days with this Jeep are over. That may be OK since we spend most of our spare time on dirt bikes anyway. Howver, I would miss the occasional wheeling trip.

Below are some pictures of the Jeep. Thanks for the help.







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Unread 01-08-2012, 08:00 AM   #2
mopar346
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That's nto a decision. it's a life choice.

I would not put money in the 20 and 30.

It really doesn't need a paint job from the pictures.
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Unread 01-08-2012, 08:08 AM   #3
nshefbuch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mopar346
That's nto a decision. it's a life choice.

I would not put money in the 20 and 30.

It really doesn't need a paint job from the pictures.
I agree. If it were me I'd put the money in axle swap and suspension. I too think the paint job isn't bad. Basically I would say no to putting money in stock axles with the power you have. You could break everything on the first stomp of gas with lockers installed. And by the way, very nice jeep
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Unread 01-08-2012, 08:08 AM   #4
tlannom
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Thanks for the quick reply. I agree with the lifestyle choice decision. It's probably more a question of can I spend $2500 and have a moderate trail worthy Jeep. I can easily see having to spend a lot more than $2500 to make the Jeep wheelable (axles, lockers, etc). The Jeep looks ok from 30' but it has some body damage and surface rust issues.
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Unread 01-08-2012, 08:10 AM   #5
Matt1981CJ7
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Do the paint job. Based on the pics, it needs new paint, anyway, before the rot really takes a hold of it. I waited a couple of years too long on mine, and I paid for it with the rot pictured below.

Also, if you do all the paint prep work, including patching, filling, and sanding, $2500 should get you the paint job and leave you a decent down-payment on the lockers.

Here's a few shots of what I'm working on.

Matt
rollparpatch1.jpg   patch2-3.jpg   paintprep11.jpg   paintprep8.jpg   paintprep9.jpg  

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Unread 01-08-2012, 08:13 AM   #6
nshefbuch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlannom
Thanks for the quick reply. I agree with the lifestyle choice decision. It's probably more a question of can I spend $2500 and have a moderate trail worthy Jeep. I can easily see having to spend a lot more than $2500 to make the Jeep wheelable (axles, lockers, etc). The Jeep looks ok from 30' but it has some body damage and surface rust issues.
You could get one ton axles swapped in for that money and most likely the tons will already have lockers in them. It does depend on how much wheeling you do. If you don't do much wheeling at all that jeep would be a great show jeep with the motor and new paint. It's a tough decision you have as everyone wishes to have best of both worlds. Me, id do the paint and body work myself and put the money in axles. It's a waste to a built jeep with power and stock axles. Why have the power then? Nobody drag races jeeps on the street and if they did who cares? It's 4 wheel drive for a reason
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Unread 01-08-2012, 08:27 AM   #7
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I see a few paint chips, no? If so, they will lead to rust. I'd do paint 1st. I HAVE to paint. Get the surface rust, that may be forming, and that passenger corner dent taken care of.
It is a tough choice, no doubt. But I see this as preventative, which I feel should be done before a marginal (?) upgrade. Plus you can take advantage of your hook @ the paint shop. God forbid he has a stroke when you NEED a paint job in a few years.
I'm going either Tangelo Orange w/huge metal flake, or 2008 honda Pilot Aberdeen Green Metallic. w/silver & black Laredo stripes either way. Blacking the hinges, headlight rings etc.. Jeep Gods forgive me but, I have always hated the stock Forrest Green. But everybody else LOVES it. My brother and bestest friend even copied it down to the tri-orange stripes and turbine mags!
I'm only doing fancy paint 'cuz I'm restoring an Old Triumph for a great painter. Better than I can dribble it on! Tub on saw horses and tilt nose to paint. Hardly any labor so I'm whacking him on paint costs!
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Unread 01-08-2012, 08:28 AM   #8
diddy2003
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Axle upgrade with Detroit trutracs would be my choice.
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Unread 01-08-2012, 08:30 AM   #9
hutch1200
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And you'll still get out in the woods as a family on the bikes, no?
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Unread 01-08-2012, 09:02 AM   #10
Shiftace
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Paint it. You say you're not a hardcore wheeler so blowing 2500 on the axles wouldn't be cost effective.
Protect what you already have. You can put some limited slips in later.
If you want to stuff in some ARBs you are definitely just giving the next owner a great deal.

A trussed or welded AMC 20 with quality one piece axles easily rival a Dana 44 for strength especially if you make it a full floater.
The Dana 30 front however was built for the 150 hp range with stock sized tires and they do ok. Start pumping LS1 power into it with your big tires and a locker and you're going to hear bad noises.
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Unread 01-08-2012, 09:09 AM   #11
unclewilson2
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Nice jeep have some cj axles will trade for coronas and limes if ever needed !
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Unread 01-08-2012, 09:39 AM   #12
brownbagg
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it doesnt need a paint job, some arb be nice but not for 20/30. hell put the money in the bank or take the family on a 4wd vacation. jeep looks good as is
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Unread 01-08-2012, 01:45 PM   #13
Matt1981CJ7
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If the OP needed help deciding, before, he's certainly downright confused, now.

Here's the thing. The CJ has been taken care of and is a nice looker. Obviously, it's appearance has been important to you. It has what I call a nice "10 foot" mug shot. Mine was the same way, it looked great from 10 feet away, but when you got closer, the warts began to show.

Here's a shot of mine only a few weeks before I began stripping her down for body restoration. I think most people would say it looks pretty clean, right? Well, the rust pictures above show what was lurking just below the surface. I'd bet yours is looking very similar, or will be soon.

OK, I'm done. I lean towards the maintenance side before before looking at upgrades, but ultimately it's your call.

Matt
newmeats3.jpg  
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Unread 01-08-2012, 02:03 PM   #14
Area.3.Fiftyone
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Buy some spare parts with that money and WHEEL that thing.....



That is what they are made for.
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Unread 01-08-2012, 04:37 PM   #15
tlannom
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Thanks for the replies. I think I'm leaning towards painting. I recently sold my Dodge Ram and wouldn't have a way to pull the Jeep home in the likely event something broke. A good point was raised about the rust getting worse if I don't do something soon, and yes me and the family will still be out in the woods camping a dirt biking.
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