Mike’s Low Country ’80 CJ7 Rebuild
First, let me say THANK YOU to all the guys who have posted pictures, how to and ‘step by step’ methods for repair, refurbish and rebuild! I’ve been a member of the forums since I brought my ‘project’ home almost two years ago, and I will search the forums before I try to do something, learn from you guys, and then go try it. The first year, saw little to no progress. This was mostly due to life, work and getting my garage ready to do some work. The garage only had one outlet! Who has a garage with only one outlet. So, I had to add more outlets, and work benches, and a compressor, and a beer fridge. I think you guys get the picture. The second year has been a bit more productive, but not by much. Again, work, career, life gets in way, but also helps fund this project, so I guess it’s a necessity.
A bit about me, this is my first project of this type. Before, I did some minor tinkering on my car and truck, but never anything like this. I decided to do this to learn. It’s that simple, learn how to do more, and figure it out along the way. Some people ask why not buy a jeep that runs, but what do you learn doing that? I’ve been leaning on friends that know how, and this forum a ton. There is a wealth of knowledge here, and I’ve been using what I can find. I’ve been learning everything along the way, so it’s been a great experience, and only the start. I never grew up working on cars, I really wasn’t that interested. More of a sports and other activities kid, and then as I got older, it didn’t seem to fit. Now it does, so here is what I’m doing in this little project.
First, the jeep, as I bought it from the PO, was nothing more than parts. The PO had it as a project too, but after a year of no progress, the wife said it had to go. And his loss was my find. Here is what I got:
1980 CJ7, tub on the frame, Dana 30, AMC 20, Chevy 350 (four bolt main), TH400 and BW transfer case. Mounting hardware for 350, accessories, etc. As I was driving home with it behind my truck, I kept asking what was I getting myself into? When would I have time for this? Now is that time…..
First 3 pictures below:
After reading the forum for several months/year, and doing research online, here is what my plan is for this thing:
Frame off restoration,
fix bad spots, learn how to weld (more on this later)
4” BDS lift new springs and shocks
rebuild, it looked like water in the axle fluid
Already has disc breaks, but need new rotors and lots of clean up
One Piece axle conversion
Gears look great, clean, seals look good too
Axle Ratio: Change gears….maybe, I believe its 3.73, but not sure.
SM465 Manual Transmission (I have to learn how to do transmissions)
I found a 4WD version (Thanks to Novak Conversion Knowledge website) out of a ’72 pickup, that I got cheap, with the bell housing, flywheel and Pressure Plate
Dana 300 transfer case. I got a rebuilt one, supper clean, just needs the rest of the jeep.
Chevy 350 (probably need to tear it down fully, even though PO says it was rebuilt… but based on other items I’ve found, I’m not sure I trust it)
PROGRESS TO DATE:
I have it dis-assembled down to the frame. Frame is completely stripped, tub is off to the side, axles are on jack stands. Front axle is pulled apart, brakes off, spindles apart, sitting off to the side.
On the frame, I’ve started to repair the rusted out spots, got a new rear cross member, and replaced several body mounts. I thought the frame was in okay shape, but compared to what some seen on this forum, my frame is in better than average shape. The front half is good, no rust issues, some body mounts, the tops only I replaced, and now on to the hard part.
I’ve got the rear frame members to fix, both sides. The bottoms and inside walls are rusted, and the overlap seam on the bottom is shot. This is about 14” long, from the back end, so here is my plan. I’ve made some poster board templates to cut new pieces from 1/8” plate. I’m going to cut out the plates before I start cutting the frame, hopefully it will all line up. And match the dimensions that I took before and after.
Where is the best place to cut the frame? Middle of the sides? I want to stay out of the radii, but take a look at these pictures, and let me know what you guys think.
See Pictures below
Again, thank you to all who have posted how they did things on their project, and for any advice ya'll have.
Please be patient, this is project of mine will take some time...
Thank you again,