I have been a member now for over ten years. Even though I rarely post, I thought it was only fitting to start a build thread given that I got most of my information off of this site.
Welcome to project "From Pap," my 1983 CJ-7 build. 13 years ago, when I was 17, my Grandfather (a.k.a. Pap) bought me a 1983 CJ-7. The very last thing I will do on this build will be to mount a vanity plate to it that says "From Pap" and take my grandfather (who raised me btw) on a ride. Of course, my CJ was nice when I got it, but in retrospect, giving a 17 y/o a CJ is probably not the best idea. I beat it to death, fixed in all sorts of rigged up ways, and used the cheapest parts I could find. I was in high school and college, and all I cared about was making it go. I really abused it. But somehow, it never let me down. About 6 years ago I got serious about making it a solid vehicle. I put a new 258 in it, Weber carb, clutch, etc. It ran great after that, but still needed a ton of work, the body was rusting off, the wiring was a mess, etc. 4 years ago I got accepted to grad school in NYC and had to leave it behind--though I absolutely refused to sell it! As far as I was concerned it could sit at my grandfathers and rot until I got back to it, because I knew, eventually, that I would get back to it even though all my friends and my wife doubted me (she even tried to convince me to "just buy a Wrangler!" ah, the nerve!).
Well last week the time came. My Jeep is in Ohio, but I am currently living in New Jersey working on a Ph.D. in philosophy. I decided to schedule a 10 day trip home to Ohio to work on it. I planned everything out, and had all the parts I could afford for the moment shipped to my buddy's house. The year prior I had bought a good YJ body off of a friend's dad. He also had a good YJ frame and Dana 44 front, dana 60 axle combo. I decided not to use the frame, for no other reason than sentimental purposes. (I know the YJ frames are stronger, I researched the hell out if, but still could not part with the CJ frame.) I had decided that the 44/60 combo was more than I needed, but, of course, my friends convinced me to use them anyway. I am happy I did. The out boarding was not hard, just time consuming. I am still very nervous about the width of these axles, as they are from a J20 and therefore 10' wider than the WT. I may have them shortened as soon as I get everything else done if I decide I don’t like the way they look.
Here is everything I got done in the 10 days. I hope you enjoy the pics. I could not have done this project without the knowledge from JeepForum!
First off, the man himself stopped by to check out my progress. 87 and still kicking.
Here is how she looked before I started. It actually ran and drove great.
The teardown begins.
Dash and Column out. What a mess!
Old body off, look at that articulation.
The full cage I made in high school held up pretty well with no weight on it.
The new body and axles arrive.
Cutting stuff up and getting ready to slide in the Dana 44 and start measuring.
Axle in, frame degreased, pressure washed, sanded, and all the nooks and crannies sand blasted.
Working on the rear cross member on one of my many 16 hour days.
The front outboard before it was capped and those gussets cleaned up.
The rear front, those spring hangers will be replaced and welded, but I needed to get it rolling.
Frame painted with Magnet Chassis Saver. That is, except for the rear cross member and the back 5 inches of the frame, which my buddy is welding in.
Outboard capped, painted, and attached to 4’ YJ springs.
Tabs on the new rear cross member for mounting the gas tank.
New cross member welded in, gas tank and skid plate painted and mounted (still need to add the strap. Mine broke, will do this next time and hopefully I won’t have to drop the tank completely.) New sending unit, SS Gas and break lines ran. Dana 60 mounted. MORE frame plates stitch welded to the inside of the frame, and the second to rear cross member beefed up a bit, with new body mount plates. I had to put the body on, mark for the body mount holes on the new rear skid plate, and then pull it off and drill them.
Me and my friends getting ready to lift the body on. Could not have done it without these guys.
New body on! Forgot to take a pic before we pushed it back in the garage.
And that is it for now. I will be back in Ohio in two weeks to give it another go, this time for only a few days. For now, my buddy is putting the steering column in and wiring it up for me. I just made a huge parts order, so next time I hope to get the steering all set up with an H1 box, Borgeson shaft, new tie rod ends, etc, and figuring out how I am going to make the new drag link.