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Griffen24 11-24-2012 09:52 PM

A novice's 1979 CJ5 restoration (The Beginning)
I will fist start off by stating i am a complete novice beyond some minor dirt bike tinkering in the past. So I pick what i thought at the time was decent CJ off of craigslist. I knew when i went to pick it up it had not been running in some time but PO assured me it was a minor issue as it had been running before he parked it. As it turned out it only need to have the carb gone through and fired right up (needle valve was stuck closed). Fixed that issue with a quick carb cleaning and down the road I go to an instant love affair with my CJ. :2thumbsup:

A few months have passed and with the continual reading of the jeep forums on the web I've gained some confidence and decided to take a stab at restoring my cj the better and brighter glory that she deserves. As a novice, I have found that reading and seeing other jeep owners journeys has given me alot both in knoledge and confidence. I am hopeing to pass it forward by documenting my journy with this CJ5.

Here are some intial pictures as it was the day I brought it home. Decent for a 1979 yes, but no dream ride.

Griffen24 11-24-2012 10:21 PM

This was a few months ago but in the first few weeks of ownership I took an initial assessment and noted the bad spots I could see:
  • Body rust in all the familiar places (fenders, body in front of doors, in wheel well where the roll bar sits, and amount the windshield)
  • Cracked Windshield
  • How hard it was to get in with the original steering wheel
  • Lack of a working radio
  • Wipers non-functional
  • Instrument cluster non-functional
  • Seat belts attached to body by zip-ties... yes zip-ties...
  • When driving, the intake on acceleration produces a very loud whistle without any distinguishable leaks
  • There are several other cosmetic items that I wont list here.

So with these in mind I made my 1st parts purchase. I picked up all the goodies need to change out the brake fluid, oil/filter, power-steering, coolant and the belts (alt and power-steering). This should be a no brainer to change all fluids upfront as you dont know how its been maintained. Diff/Tranny/Xfer cases fluids also should be changed out although i have not done them yet. I will likely do them once the body is fully removed.

Griffen24 11-24-2012 10:40 PM

Once the fluids where addressed, I started tackling the little things. Ventured online and ordered the necessary parts to fix the wipers, hardware to properly mount the seat belts, shifter boot, and a new instrument cluster. On an impulse I picked up a new smaller steering wheel and adapter and a new and fitting fuel cap (old one rattles around loosely) from the local store.

My friend also donated a radio and speakers to the cause.

as you can see in the last pic I removed the yellow accent paint from the speedo and repainted the wiper motor housing black. Also installed the instruments, the radio/speakers, and the steering wheel. The new shifter boot ripped with in first week of install.

Griffen24 11-24-2012 10:54 PM

Sorry for the run on, trying to get caught up to where i am today... so let me fast forward a bit. After about 6 months of putting around in her as pictured above I've decided i' going to tear her down to the frame and restore her.

Disassembly begins...
Removed of the soft top and roll bar
Removed the rear seat
Removed pasanger seat and softop hardware
Removed winshield and found some more rust.

Griffen24 11-24-2012 11:15 PM

At this point I stopped and really started debating with myself on what my plan would really be. Would I take the time and buy a welder and learn to weld and fix this body or would i just go and purchase a Fiberglass body at 4WD??? Posing pics for the really bad spots.
Wheel well where roll bar mounts. like this on both sides.
Body in front of door opening
Drivers side fender
Rear panel by plate

The floor of the bed is pretty rough also and the floor pans have so many holes from different roll bars. Also a roll underneath the jeep show rust all over the under side of the body.

Luckily I have cousins that own an industrial blasting and painting business. My cousin has agrees to allow me to bring in the body once removed and have it oven baked and blasted so we can see the full extent of the or restoration needed. If after that the body appears to be salvageable to an extent of less cost than the fiberglass kit we will prime it, buy a welder and do the necessary bodywork, otherwise I will sell this steel body and go fiber.

Regarding the bake, they will actually place my body into a large oven and raise it evenly up to a very high temp that will actually turn the 10 layers of prior paint and bed liner to ash, this prevents warping of the thin sheet metal that would occur if it all had to be blased. The rust will then be media blasted in the areas impacted.

So at this point, my goal is to get the body off and over to my cousin for the bake and blast.

Griffen24 11-24-2012 11:22 PM

Removed the dash, as doing so any wire I disconnect is being labled for later ease of reinstallation.

BTW dash removal is a huge PITA, especially the cables to the heater and vents. must be delicate in removing the pin cap retainer that lock the cables in place or you can really mangle them.

Griffen24 11-24-2012 11:32 PM

Removed hood, fenders, radiator, grill and front wire-harness.

Don't laugh at fruit of the looms stuffed into the coolant tubes. Someone gave us some extremely over-sized, so we found a use for them elsewhere :teehee:

Griffen24 11-24-2012 11:37 PM

Removed all the heater components and ducts, interior ware harness, and disconnected the clutch linkage, throttle cable, and breaks from the Master Cylinder. The steering coloumn has also been removed.

Griffen24 11-24-2012 11:39 PM

I will say that a compete tear down was probally a good thing in my case as would not likly have found the wear on my clutch linkage untill to late otherwise. There is not much metal left there...

Griffen24 11-24-2012 11:43 PM

OK that brings me up to date on where I am at for the current tear down. I work full time and have wife and 4yo daughter, so i dont have time everyday to work on the CJ but i will try to keep this thread posted as I go in hope that this is entertaing and helpful to someone else. Have a good night all.

bluwtrsurfr 11-25-2012 08:32 AM

Mine did the same thing but i didn't notice until i was driving home from work and the clutch linkage broke on me. I unfortunately had to wait until my roomie came home so I could have her bring me my truck and tow it home.



Originally Posted by Griffen24
I will say that a compete tear down was probally a good thing in my case as would not likly have found the wear on my clutch linkage untill to late otherwise. There is not much metal left there...

wvrefugee 11-25-2012 08:38 AM

The best thing about this can work outside year round!!! It's f'en cold up north here!!

Great project to cut your teeth on!! Good job!:)

Griffen24 11-26-2012 07:45 AM

Yea, I was waiting till it cooled off here to get into the thick of the tear down. Fl summers make me wanna stay indoors.

Griffen24 11-26-2012 09:39 PM

Tonight I had a little time and was able to remove the brake/clutch pedal assembly, e-brake assembly, gas pedal assembly, shifter boots, shifter/trany cover, rear bumper and both tail lights. I don't think there is too much left before I can lift off the tub.

I gonna take tomorrow off from this the jeep, stay home with my family and put up the Xmas lights.

Skerr 11-26-2012 09:55 PM

My clutch linkage was the same. Found it pretty much the same way you did! I welded it back up then ground it down smooth and round. So far, so good...

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