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Unread 09-25-2012, 08:34 PM   #1
W7NB
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Ricks 85 CJ7Cherowrangler Build Project

Yep, after playing with the CJ7 for a few years and reading up on everybody's build projects I have gone over the deep end. I'm going to see how many parts from different Jeeps I can stuff into my CJ to get the Jeep I want. OK , at least I think I want...

A little background. 3 years ago my back let me know my quad riding days were about over. Since we mainly liked to trail ride and I am reasonably handy with tools I figured I could pick up a CJ7 that suffered from PO stupid and have it whipped into shape in no time. After a bit of looking I found an 85 that was fairly stock with the only mods being a 4" lift and 33's. Best part was that it was an Arizona desert Jeep with no rust! OK, so it barely ran, had breaks that defied logic, and refused to drive in a straight line. How hard can this be?

If I had only known

After pulling the oversized Holley and assorted PO fuel system nonsense and installing an MC 2100 and fuel pump it ran. Well better anyway. A team rush upgrade along with some dizzy work yielded a 4.2 that actually ran half decent, and after a Sea Foam job that had the neighbors calling 911 (literally) no longer knocked and wheezed. Deletion of a long clogged catalytic converter brought on enough power to make the brakes and steering scary.

Fast forward through the usual brake and suspension work, throw an an old 8274, sliders, high jack and some goodies and you got this.




A decent trail Jeep, fun on the beach, but OH so underpowered with the 3.55's and 33's. Plus being open on both ends was no fun, so in go the 4.55's and lockers on both ends along with a 1 piece axle kit for the AMC 20 rear end and all new Spicer joints to limit the weak spots.

OK, now we have a useable CJ that is off to explore the NW as only can be done in a jeep with soft top and doors!

Until the first Oregon winter!

Since CJ7 doors and tops are rare as honest politicians in our neck of the woods, I ended up buying a set of YJ doors and hard top and modifying them to fit the CJ. The following summer I decided to go to Wrangler 1/2 doors so I had a little metal between me and road debris being thrown by other vehicles. At this point I was calling it the CJWrangler thanks to the YJ parts.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago on the beach. While running with a couple of Wranglers and a Cherokee I was definitely the slowpoke in the group, and in one particularly deep hole I had to fight my way out and smelled... clutch.

Well, time for a clutch. and you know any good CJ owner can't just change one part without doing several others while you were in there. So, I bought a new clutch and this:


OK, stay tuned and I'll explain...

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Unread 09-25-2012, 08:48 PM   #2
Skerr
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4.0 swap!! Nice pics. Sounds like a lot of fun traveling around in your part of the continent in a Jeep.
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"Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'what should be the reward of such sacrifices?' ... If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!" —Samuel Adams

Clay's Build Thread
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/cl...hread-1061897/
Scott's Build Thread
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/sc...5-cj7-1147913/
Fallon (and Dad) Build Thread
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f11/f...-okee-1445206/
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Unread 09-25-2012, 08:51 PM   #3
W7NB
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So here's the plan...

With 180k on the little engine that could, I decided it was time to do a little upgrade to an HO 4.0 and AX15 to replace the tired 4.2 and T5. While I COULD just do the clutch, I figured if I have to tear into it I may as well just get the party started.

So, here is the upgrade list:

4.0HO
AX15
New clutch (duh)
Electric fan

And while it's down I plan to clean and paint the tub interior and install the Blazer heater fan. Hmm, a K5CJ7Cherowrangler? Perhaps not.

So, as the photo shows, I drug home a barn find 91 Cherokee with only 127k on her- other than the usual manifold leaks she ran like a top, so after a significant cleaning I'm going to install as is. Sad ending to a nice Jeep - rear ended by a 3/4 ton pickup so bad that she buckled in 3 places!

Here is the last weeks work:






And here is the easiest way I know to pull the transfer case and tranny:



Here's the best part - I payed $600 for the Cherokee, plus $50 to rent the car hauler and about that for fuel to go get her. Then sold the front clip for $150, the transfer case for $100 and a bunch of other parts for another $150 - and I have someone who wants the axles. So I net a 4.0, trans and all the wiring, computer etc for less than $300!
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Unread 09-25-2012, 08:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skerr View Post
4.0 swap!! Nice pics. Sounds like a lot of fun traveling around in your part of the continent in a Jeep.
Thanks! While I love the Florida beaches and the WARM water, I like having the mountains to play in!
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Unread 09-25-2012, 09:03 PM   #5
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I have to agree about the warm water, although it can sometimes be TOO warm! The Cheokee looks to be in good shape. What's the story?
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Go Fish! <*////><

"Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'what should be the reward of such sacrifices?' ... If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!" —Samuel Adams

Clay's Build Thread
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/cl...hread-1061897/
Scott's Build Thread
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/sc...5-cj7-1147913/
Fallon (and Dad) Build Thread
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f11/f...-okee-1445206/
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Unread 09-25-2012, 10:43 PM   #6
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Rear ended - hit so hard it buckled the floor all the way up to the B pillars and broke the drivers seat when he got hit. Couldn't close the front doors very well so they pulled them off I guess, they were in the back seat when I picked it up. Too bad, as all it really needed was a repaint and some interior work to be a nice cruiser until it got whacked!
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Unread 09-28-2012, 10:44 PM   #7
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Tear down of the Cherokee is all but finished. If anybody needs the axles, drive lines and transfer case let me know, as they are about all that will be left.

The transfer case adapter showed up from Novack today,so can't wait to get dug in - just need the rest of the Cherokee out first. Picks of the parts pile tomorrow.
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Unread 10-13-2012, 11:05 PM   #8
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Progress was made today. Parts have started showing up so I figured I better get started. The engine and transmission were both coated in that wonderful preservative called motor oil that had leaked from the valve cover, so I broke out the marine clean and pressure washer.

Transmission before:


Transmission after:


Amazing how fast rust starts on cast iron. Notice the water is not even dry and the flash rust has started:


Hopefully I can get some paint on the motor tomorrow and install the brackets and accessories. Once the prep is done I'll start the tear down.
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Unread 10-14-2012, 02:46 AM   #9
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projects like this remind me of Xtreme 4x4 on Powerblock TV.
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Unread 10-14-2012, 09:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
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projects like this remind me of Xtreme 4x4 on Powerblock TV.
Probably not far from it. I just don't have the budget for all the nice new parts they are taking out of boxes behind the camera. If I did, oh what I could build then...
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Unread 10-15-2012, 04:00 PM   #11
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I'm very interested in this build. I wish I had the skills and knowhow to do something this big.
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Unread 10-19-2012, 06:42 PM   #12
W7NB
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Progress has been made! Not a lot of spare time lately, but decided to pull the head off and check the lifters and interior condition while I had it out. Should have saved the time and head gasket, as it looked like any 120K mile 4.0 would with minor wear but nothing to get wound up over. Anyway, motor has gone from this when pulled


To this when decreased and power washed


To this


Which is Hemi Orange and near AMC Blue. I just had a wild hair when I did it but kind of like the contrast!
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Unread 10-19-2012, 07:02 PM   #13
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Adding to the CheroWrangler parts pile

When I tore down the Cherokee, I saved the roof rack, thinking I might be able to use it for the Wrangler top I modified for the CJ. I cut 24 inches off the rails and re-drilled the ends for the end caps and mounting screws and bolted it on the top. Looks pretty good I think!



Here is what I cut off, and the end where the tips attach. I just copied the hole pattern on the new end where I had made the cut and popped the cap back on before mounting to the CJ




Folks ask how I modified the Wrangler top to work on the CJ7. I simply cut off the part that used to sit behind the Wrangler tailgate when it was closed and replaced it with a 1 1/2 x 3/8 thick steel stock and used standard gate latches to close it. They can be locked with a padlock if needed, but generally nothing worth stealing is left in the CJ anyway. A piece of canopy type adhesive backed foam keeps the back sealed and prevents rattles.


Hollow area is where I cut off the old tab that held the gate closed on the Wrangler


Metal bar pained to match with latches - most people don't even know it's not stock!


Close up of the high tech latch - almost looks like something AMC would have used in the day


I hope to get the accessories cleaned up and mounted so I can install the clutch and start tearing into the project proper!
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Unread 10-20-2012, 10:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W7NB View Post
Gator colors!!
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Go Fish! <*////><

"Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'what should be the reward of such sacrifices?' ... If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!" —Samuel Adams

Clay's Build Thread
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/cl...hread-1061897/
Scott's Build Thread
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/sc...5-cj7-1147913/
Fallon (and Dad) Build Thread
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f11/f...-okee-1445206/
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Unread 10-20-2012, 11:11 PM   #15
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I am planning on the same. I got my Cherokee for free but it was an auto so I had to buy the AX. It is has the case off now, waiting for a press so I can rebuild it. I think my 4.0 may need a rebuild as well. It seems to run okay but I cannot measure much compression on it.

What are you going to do for the hydraulic clutch pedal? That is all I have left to figure out.
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