Decided to put together a build thread of the work on my 85 CJ7. Finally got back into the swing of working on it after a couple years of down time. It's been a long-term project and I've never driven it on the street. First up is the backlog of my past work. Feels good to be working on it again!
Purchased it in 2007 or 2008 while I was in high school. Was looking for a project Jeep with an SBC, preferably with a glass body. This one had both. I paid $5,000 for it and drove it home. Hard to believe it used to be driveable!
1985 CJ7, originally 4.2L with a manual
350 SBC, Quadrajet, TH400, D300
AMC20/D30 (with 2.73s!)
4"ish SUA lift, Brand new (still prickly) 35x12.5R15 Pro Comp Xtreme M/T on brand new Eagle Alloys.
90s production 4WD Hardware brand fiberglass tub, fenders, hood. Bare white gelcoat.
Sketchy roll cage, not tied into frame. 95 Civic seats mounted to it.
90s production Bestop Supertop and full soft doors, pretty good condition
I think this one was on the day I bought it.
Not too too shabby.
First thing I can remember doing to it was replacing the rotted out steel windshield frame. Went with a 4WD Hardware brand one.
Did some fiberglass work repairing a crack by the driver's side lower door hinge, and straightening out the airbox that the PO had mounted crooked. I recall the latter job being a total PITA. Still have some work to do on the hood and fenders (if I decide to use the glass fenders), but the tub is just about perfect.
After fiberglass work on the tub, with new windshield frame.
Then I decided it needed some color, so I shot it with some primer and Aervoe semi gloss OD and attempted to wetsand it down to get it smooth. Older me has since decided that this was dumb, and has decided on going with a real paint job.
Still surprised how good I used to be with rattle cans.
Excuse the wetsanding dust.
Decided to make a new dash because the PO's was ugly and didn't have airbox controls. Ordered a sheet of 6061 and came up with this.
Made some mistakes here that still have to be corrected...
Then it sat in the garage of my old house for a few years while I was away at college. Family moved to a bigger house (with a bigger garage!) in 2010, and my dad trailered it over. Drove it under its own power off the flatbed and straight into the garage, where it has been living since.
I was still planning on just prettying it up a bit and driving it, so the next major project was Raptor Liner. Sanded the crap out of the PO's rattle can bedliner, down into the gelcoat. Itchy, but worth it. That Raptor Liner isn't going to be peeling off anytime this century. Throughout my many projects, I've gotten to use just about every brand of every type of paint and surface coating a DIYer is likely to encounter. Raptor is probably my second favorite, right under POR-15. You'll see more of it used soon
My next undertaking in 2011ish was going to be cleaning up the engine, and painting it and the front of the frame. Good thing I decided to pull the heads during this process, because this is what I found. No idea how water/coolant got in there because it had just been sitting in the garage being neglected most of the time. I had been planning on building up a new motor and just swapping them, but decided to tackle that job immediately.
Oh no, Fram!
Vortec kickin' in yo.
I was on a budget at the time of the build, and skipped/skimped on some things I would have done in the present. It was the first motor I ever built from scratch. I am still very happy with the final specs. She's got it where it counts! Specs/parts/work done
Bored 0.030 over
99 Vortec heads with valve job
New old crank done 10/10 instead of the 30/30 mine would have needed
Clevite P series bearings all the way around
Keith Black pistons. Static compression is 9.3:1. Basic Summit ring set.
Eagle rods in lieu of refurbishing stock rods
Edelbrock Performer intake
Comp 12-318-4. 268/276 seat to seat, .464/.464 lift, 110* separation
New Comp springs and lifters. Reused Vortec rockers and pushrods.
Rebuilt the Q-Jet with some goodies and mods
Had I known my crank was basically unusable, and that I would be buying new rods instead of reconditioning the old ones (not much of a price difference), I would have just thrown in a 400 crank and ordered different rods/pistons to make a 383. Probably would have shot for 10:1 compression with forged flattops. I should have gotten the new heads setup for more lift (stock Vortecs are only good to .460-.480. My combo is good with ample spring space and no binding), and done screw-in studs. Oh well. The drivetrain also got:
New more shiny fuel pump
New more shiny dress-up bits
New high-volume oil pump
New stock-style oil pan with studs
2400 RPM B&M stall converter.
New vacuum modulator and trans dip stick (old ones leaked)
Serpentine setup with new reverse rotation water pump. Rebuilt the PS pump
Fresh paint on everything
I regret the torque converter. The budget B&M's are just loosened up stockers. Really didn't want to drop the money on a fancier converter for a TH400 at the time. If I had more money back then, I would have put in a 700R4 with a 3000 stall lock-up converter. These days, I've got an itch for a manual with overdrive.
Since the motor was out, I took a grinder to the front frame and smothered it in POR-15 and ChassisCoat Black. Phosphoric acid works well for etching the metal. The POR itself is basically indestructable and unscratchable, but I don't care for the ChassisCoat. It bubbles, shows brushmakrs, takes about a week to harden, and is about as durable as standard paint.
Somewhere along this 6 year undertaking, some odds and ends have gotten worked on too. Steering column was totally rebuilt, repainted, and "de-column-shifter-ed". All that brake pedal braket stuff was blasted and painted. Basically anything that was metal and got unbolted got blasted, primered, and painted satin black. Trying to keep my black paints consistent. Some things will have to be repainted so it all matches and has the best quality coating I can put on myself. I wish I had a powdercoating setup.
Then I decided that I wanted to POR-15 the rest of the frame too. Upon removing the rear bumper, I found this mess :O
Is that...a bolt?!
That's a bolt welded in as filler for half-*** patched frame rail ends. Addressing this issue required the body to come off, so off it came.
No body knows...
And it sat like that from early 2012 until around June 2013. I don't have a welder, no welding experience, and the electrical system of the house and its layout does not permit the installation of 220 to the garage. I tried friends/family/welding shops but nothing panned out for over a year. In the hiatus, I found some minor projects to address. Ordered a set of shackles from Jim at Crabtree Tool and Die (Hi Jim!), ripped out all the horribly bent/routed brake and fuel lines, installed a Contour/Mystique electric fan on the radiator along with an external trans cooler, and probably a bunch of other things I can't remember while I waited for an opportunity to present itself. Oh yeah, I found out my axles both have open 2.73 gearsets in them. Woo. Must have driven it home in 4lo after buying it. Present me wants to strangle younger me.
Found a local guy willing to do the work, and I found out about these Safe-T-Caps.
Finally! CJ got to go on a little adventure on a U-Haul dolley to his shop down the street. Did a great job welding those in. Solid as a rock now. He also patched the hole by the stock exhaust hanger, and welded in some angle iron for what will be dual exhaust hangers.
Of course, had to finish the POR on the back half. I also took the time to rebuild the rear leafs, since they were a rusted-together mess. Pulled them apart, flap wheeled all the leaves, riveted on new clips, graphite paint on the inside, paint on the outside.
And now you're all caught up with where the CJ7 is at now. I used to have time but not money to work on it. Now I've got money but not enough daytime hours to make loud noises during. Stay tuned for updates on what I'm working on!
9", date code on the third member says it was cast Feb 15, 1968. C7AW-E casting. 3.50 gears on a 28 spline factory posi.
Housing is a big end, 3.25" tubes taper to 3.00" at the ends. Looks like it was setup for 58" WMS to WMS.
A̶n̶y̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶a̶ ̶c̶l̶u̶e̶ ̶w̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶m̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶e̶ ̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶o̶f̶?̶
The housing is 1978 Lincoln Versailles, the disc brakes are factory. I might be ten years off on the third member's date code.
Crate of disk brake stuff came with it to boot.
Plan is to have it narrowed to wide-track width (54.5", or whatever my AMC20 measures), 31 spline axles, Detroit Truetrac, and I'm thinking 4.11's.
Looks great, keep it coming!! For a minute I thought I was looking at the frame Im working with. PO did the same type of frame "Repair" in the rear of mine. Boxed it with 1/4" steel from the crossmember all the way back. He threw some treadplate in there too for good measure...
Got around to cleaning the frame out. Two days of Purple Power and a pressure washer.
A lot of chunks of rust, a lot of corn kernels, a peanut, bunch of sand, and one seashell.
Pictures because pictures.
Now I will concurrently work on setting the 9" in place to get that out to the shop for narrowing, painting the inside of the frame with the Eastwood stuff, getting a gas tank in, and running hardlines.
Anyone know of good techniques for setting the pinion angle for a double-cardan style shaft? I believe we need to be pointed at the axis of the t-case yoke u-joint, then 2 degrees down to compensate for weight. Getting it pointed is the hard part.
It will be narrowed to whatever the width of my AMC 20 is, 54.5" or 55" or whatever it actually measures. I already have wheels, and I have no intention of swapping the d30 in the front. So narrowing it is.
Also, I'm still trying to figure out brakes. I don't want to use the Versailles brakes that came with this (fixed caliper, really heavy, wrong bolt pattern).
The brakes kind of determine the overall width and how much the shop will narrow it, so I need to know what I'm going to run. Maybe there is a Bronco/F150 kit out there with 5x5.5" rotors? I really would like rotors that I can buy anywhere and not have to order custom ones.
Subscribed. I'm in a similar situation. I bought a 79 CJ-7 in the 90's in high school and after sitting for forever, I am hoping to get it into the garage before it snows and redo all the crap I thought was a good idea when I was 19 before it got parked...
New 15 gal setup from MTS. Good folks. Don't tell them that I'm planning on cutting a big hole in it though. Decided to go with an in-tank TBI pump. Waiting on fittings and such to do that. Thought about modifying the stock sending unit and mounting the pump to that, but the fuel and "return" lines are just too small (5/16" fuel and 1/4" return).
[gender identification joke goes here]
Made myself a tubing straightener. 1 1/2" sliding door rollers are about the right size, 5/16" across the inside, but I'm using 3/8" fuel line, so I went with nylon ones. Works awesome. $16 in rollers and some scrap angle iron versus $200 for a commercial one. Yeah, I'll take the DIY route any day.
Bent up the fuel and return lines. Hey, are those new headers too? Sweet!
Had to go on top of the frame rail most of the way to get out of the way of the exhaust. I love this green PolyArmor stuff. Easy to bend, won't rust, cheap. My goal with the fuel lines is to have zero rubber lines. -6an braided for all the flexy bits. Tube nuts and sleeves plus a 37* flare converts the steel line to -6an. Cheapo Summit 37* flare tool works perfectly with the PolyArmor line, just don't use it on stainless.
Finishing up the fuel and brake hardlines this week (waiting on more stainless hold downs and rivnuts). Then I'll mod the tank.
Something else very special (and very expensive) is due to be picked up this week as well. Stay tuned.