some kid and his rusty desert jeep build (83' CJ7)
Forewarning: it's a long read and a slow build. I'm just a kid and I do almost everything on the jeep myself, with no training besides the basics that my dad taught me and what I have learned from the web and jeep forum.
Just a little background first... My dad has been jeeping for 20+ years and did some of the hardest trails in Colorado in his 1984 CJ7, which he purchased in 1987. I was raised as a jeeping kid, and we frequently went camping and wheeling in the good ole' CJ... Having been driven as a DD for 15+ years, working out in the salt fields as well as road salt took its toll. There wasn't one panel anywhere on the body that didn't have a big rust hole through it. The CJ was worn out with more than 200k miles on the original drivetrain and was retired as it was deemed unsafe. It was later sold to a broke mechanic buddy, who desperately needed a vehicle... later he sold it to someone else who restored it...
We all loved to wheel and go on family outings and such, so me dad began to search for another CJ. I remember going to look at dozens of jeeps with him, most were too squirly, beat up, or just plain ghetto. After looking for 2 years my dad found the 83.' It was quite appealing because it only had 32k miles on it, had a hard top and hard doors, dana 44s, and locked axles... we made the 260~ mile drive back in the rain at 45~ MPH we wheeled it for a few months until it developed some electrical problems, so it was parked in the backyard and forgotten.
Fast forward a few years, I get the itch to do something besides watch TV and play video games... I started troubleshooting the jeep, and got it running again with a little work.
Here's what it looked like when I first started working on it:
The PO had built the jeep up quite well, and wheeled it frequently until his wife told him she wasn't gonna go anymore unless he got a 'nicer' jeep with AC. He bought a late YJ and swapped all the armor over along with the cage, lift, tires, seats, etc over and left the CJ basically stock.
Here's the current specs (Updated 1/1/2012)
T4 manual trans
Narrowed Dana 44 front--OX locker
AMC20 Rear--Detroit locker, sleeved/trussed, Moser shafts, disc brakes
4" Rancho lift
We had a set of Cooper STTs with the older style tread left over from the other CJ, so we put those on and wheeled it like that... I recently noticed that they are severely cracked due to dry rot, so we swapped the BFG ATs back on... went to air up the BFGs and noticed they are cracked just as bad...
meanwhile, other issues lurk... We replaced the starter, and the ignition switch, to get the heep running, but running wasn't the issue anymore, rather, shutting the jeep off was now the problem. The steering column sector gear that moves the ignition switch will push forward (to start, etc), but won't turn back so the jeep stays in run constantly. I wired up a switch on the tach, which shuts off the motor as a quick fix, and we just disconnect the battery to prevent it from being drained (because the ignition is stuck on run).
The gears are waaaay too deep. The ratio is 4.56:1, which would work much better with 35-37" tires, because currently 1st is useless and you can start in 2nd or 3rd gear. 50 MPH is about as fast as you can go because you can't rev the motor high enough to go any faster.
Found a trussed/sleeved AMC20 with alloy shafts, a detroit locker, and disc brakes on the other side of the state... Waiting to hear back from the seller--this is probably our best option for getting rid of the spool
Will probably have to SOA the jeep to clear the truss, but this was already on the list anyway. A bunch of guys on the local board said they'd be willing to help so it should be cake. That works out well anyway because we really need new tires, and need to go to a larger size anyway.
Anyone know what I could get out of the spooled d44? Would it be fair to ask $300 or so because it's ready to bolt in to a CJ, and has been converted to the correct lug pattern?
goodluck with it. the amc 20 is just as good or better then the 44 if it's hooked up and it sounds like that one is.
Stick with the 4.56 gears they are deep now but as soon as you get some lift and tires they will be prefect and you don't want to do it twice. they will be good with 33's. I have 4.10's on my rubi with 33's and more power then you and I wish I had 4.56's. I think i'm going to a 36 and then will regear even deeper
I'm building a TJ frame and suspension for my CJ7, if it comes together any time soon I'll send ya the 4" lift springs that are on it now