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jeepwhore 05-08-2011 01:29 PM

The Retro Wheeler Build Thread
Sorry for the novel of an introductory post. I promise subsequent posts will be short and contain "visual words" that we all would rather see! :D

I finally hauled my spare frame home in an effort to force myself to start my build and will hopefully get cracking by the end of next week when I get home from work.

This will be the 3rd "overhaul" of sorts since I bought my CJ in highschool (wow, it's been 15 years already?) and I'm finally going to address everything at once. Having stripped it down to the frame before I know a timeline isn't easily applied to a jeep build but I'm trying to do as much pre-planning as possible to expedite the process. Particularly because my time will be limited to work on it (I am away for work 8 days at a time and my 6 days off have to be split between the wife, kids, honey-do list and Jeep). So what time I do have needs to be optimized.

So far I've got a spreadsheet with projected costs for parts and materials, breaking them down by area (ie. frame, axles, tub etc.). And a to-do list for each of those areas for what I have planned (in the order Im wanting to complete them).

I guess some info on what my plans are might be in order. Currently, I have this (although the hood is no longer blue):

It started life as an '84 and has since been complemented with parts from a '78, '86 and '92. Over the past few years I've been collecting parts in anticipation of this so I'm ahead of the game in some areas. I basically have enough componenets to get a second rolling chassis and then hope to yank my tub off and transplant it.

I have a spare frame from the '86 in excellent condition. I'm going to clean out the frame rails, outboard the springs for my new axles (if I can't move the perches in the 3/4" per side I need), get some of them spiffy hangers from crabtree, coat it inside and out, weld on a new x-member and weld on mounts for my new tubular trans. mount (I've always wanted a flat belly and if I don't have one, my Jeep will :D). I have a set of pre-bent SS brake lines sitting on the shelf waiting for all this to happen.

For the drivetrain I have a rebuilt 4.2L short block, rebuilt 4L head (still need to hit the JY and get FI for it) and a rebuilt T176 waiting in the wings for the frame to be finished. Aside from bolting on the head and accessories (and some paint) it's ready to go in. I have a t-case rebuild kit for the D300 along with a clocking ring and twin sticks.

Now for axles, I'm comitting a cardinal sin and this thing is getting some Toyota mini-truck axles from an '86 diesel X-tra cab. Now before you all harp on me for it let me explain why. First off, they're FREE :D. Second, they're very close to WT width and while I'd rather go with a NT waggy front and a rodeo rear, neither are easy to find in my neck of the woods. Plus, the Yota's already come geared with the 4.30 gears I wanted, use trunion bearings (similar to a king pin set up) instead of ball joints and have drop out 3rd members (in case I find 3rd's with 4.56 gears it will make for a quick and inexpensive gear change). So the cost savings alone over re-gearing my M20 and D30 make it more than worth it. The things I'll have to do to them include: moving the perches to SUA, upgrade the birfield joints, gussett the knuckle balls, freshen them up and add some spartan lockers (unless I can find OEM yota e-locker 3rd members). I'm not concerned with the strength, if you can run 40's and a 4 banger on a yota then surely my 6 cyl. and 35's can't be any worse.

The tub is a 97% rust free YJ tub and I'm planning to weld up both fuel filler holes and the holes I made for the tail, reverse and marker lights. I'd rather have a blank canvas to start with even though it's adding work. Then strip the liner in it right now in favor of some u-pol, add to the family roll bar, rock sliders and tube fenders. Plus install the new wiring harness sitting in my garage.

Other than the odds and ends like upgraded tie rod and drag link, ram assist, hydro boost (JY one is in the garage), eventual rear discs etc. I think everything is lining up pretty good so far. The beauty of this whole plan is I can still drive my Jeep while I rebuild it until I'm ready to do the tub work.


jcal73 05-08-2011 04:34 PM

This will be good!:thumbsup:


jeepwhore 05-08-2011 10:37 PM

I sure hope so, I ain't doing this for my health! Thursday I'll be picking up a new compressor and air tools, cut off saw, and torque wrenches to compliment my mig pak 180. Should be set up for the long haul then. :thumbsup:

MoC 05-08-2011 11:50 PM

Looking foward to watching!

243 05-09-2011 05:54 AM

There are a lot of cool aspects to the pending build including the fact you owned it in high school and fifteen years later you still drive it, all the parts you have collected and the pre-planning; and last, the Toyota axles and the potential savings for gear swaps. This should be a great build :thumbsup:

jeepwhore 05-09-2011 12:37 PM

Thanks gents, I've been trying to do this for the last 4 or 5 years and looks like now the stars are finally in alignment.......3 days and counting until it's go time!

My wife noticed I seem unusually eager to come home this shift.....if she knew it was because of the Jeep I think those new tools I mentioned above would have to wait! :D

Skerr 05-10-2011 06:24 PM

:PopCorn: Watching.... allllllways watching!

jeepwhore 05-10-2011 07:32 PM

I picked up a gallon of black Zero-Rust today for the frame and axles etc. The plan is to have the frame stripped and coated by the time I go back to work next tuesday.

But I got to thinking and want to do up the flat belly skid while I'm at it so I don't have to grind off the coating and re-apply to weld the mounts on (yes, the MAW's have already popped up!). Since the frame won't have the engine and tranny in it yet I'll use my currently running Jeep to mock up the cross member and transfer the measurements to the new frame.

I want the 1/4" plate to sit flat on the frame rails and am fabbing up a seperate cross member so I can drop the pan without having to support the trans and t-case.

My question is will tilting the engine up that much cause any issues to the engine itself (oiling maybe)? I have a 1" BL and am already aware I'll probably have to cut the floor to clear the top of the clocked tcase. And I am going with a contour fan so I won't have to worry about the original fan taking out the rad.

Have I got everything covered or will there be something I didn't think of preventing me from getting right tight to the frame?

jeepwhore 05-20-2011 02:19 PM

No progress to report.....:(

Got the zero rust home and discovered it was mis-labelled and not black. Didn't matter too much because I had to clean the garage out anyway to have room to work on it.

Built a rack to store my canopy and hardtop and cleaned the rest of the junk out. Got my new 60 gal compressor and migpak 180 set up(many thanks to the best wife on the planet! :2thumbsup:), unpacked the new impact gun, air grinder, cutter, chop saw and two new torque wrenches. Then wired another 220 receptacle into the garage. Just have to plumb the compressor, buy a water seperator and get a bottle of gas for the welder....then it's go time!.....did I mention I love my wife?

twinstickd20 05-20-2011 06:23 PM

I'll be watching this one, sounds like a good one.

jeepwhore 10-06-2011 10:00 AM

Well, some progress to report....sort of. (no pics but nothing worth noting yet anyway).

The frame is still sitting in the driveway awaiting the Zero-Rust but I managed to get the axles torn down. I shipped the birfield joints to a guy to have them heat treated and a ring welded to them for increased strength and durability. Anyone familiar with Yota's will be familiar with Bobby Long's "Longfield Super Axles" but I couldn't justify the expense. At $160 this was a viable option for 80% less and while my birfields won't be as strong as a set of Long's they will be plenty for my wheeling style.

I also hit the junkyard and picked up an ECU and fully loaded intake manifold from a '92 cherokee for my rebuilt 4.2L short block and 4.0L head. Still need to get the harness and flywheel though. So far $120 invested in the FI and I can't see it being more than $250 all said and done. :thumbsup:

Lastly, I sold off a T176 (rebuilt) and a short shaft D300 to Don for his build:

Then used some of the funds to pick up an external slave AX15. The rest was supposed to be for spartan lockers but the wife had other ideas and proceeded to shop it away. Oh well, a happy wife makes the build go smoother!

I'm hoping life (wife and kids) will stop getting in the way and I can start spending more quality time with the one I really love! :D

jeepwhore 09-22-2012 12:53 PM

1 Attachment(s)
In the hopes of getting some progress I put the jeep on stands in the garage and sold off the axles (thanks jeepkid1995). Moving this past spring put my plans on hold (yet again) but looks like I finally have some free time on my days off to get this thing back on track.

Attachment 476839

Now the wife will be on my *** to get it out of her parking spot thereby "forcing" me to work on the CJ. :D.......sly like a fox.....

Hoping to get the new front shackle hangers done this weekend.....and if time permits, the rear frame hangers as well. Then I can start with spring perches and setting caster....

jeepwhore 09-27-2012 08:23 PM

So my plans from the above have somewhat changed. I've realized time and space aren't on my side.....:thumbdown:

Originally I wanted to work with a rolling chassis and keep my jeep whole for you can see in the above pic that plan went out the window. :laugh:

The new plan is to get the axles put under the jeep as it sits now with a 2" stretch in the front so I can at least move it around in FWD (no sense establishing rear pinion angle and drive shaft length with the drivetrain length soon changing).

Then the engine and transmission swap (hopefully before x-mas).

The last stage will be to cut off the rear portion of my frame which is showing signs of rot and replace it with the back half of my spare frame while incorporating a 10-15" wheelbase stretch (both frame and tub will get extended, like in the several TJ-6 builds on JF). With any luck that can happen before spring wheeling season......given my luck so far with this project, we'll see! :laugh: That will leave me with room to put in a crawl box in the future and still have a longer than stock driveline.

Things like the new wiring harness and other small stuff will take a back seat until the very end.

Jim1611 09-27-2012 08:57 PM

I can't count the number of times my plans have changed. Sounds like you'll be moving right along though.

Turtle71 09-28-2012 06:57 PM

Looking forward to seeing your progress. Especially the axle swap as I have some yota axles waiting to go in mine.

The time now is 04:58 PM.

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