Bob's Project 71 Jeep Registry
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Bob's Project 71

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Jeep Information



Engine:4.3L Vortec


Transfer Case:Super D18

Front Axle:78 Cherokee D44 OX Locker

Rear Axle:78 Cherokee D44 OX Locker

Axle Gear Ratio:4.28

Suspension:OME YJ

Tires:33 10.5 16

Wheels:Alloy (6 hole Cherokee hub)

Recovery Gear:Warn 8274

Accessories:AC, full fabricated roll cage, fender well mod for more seat travel, Corbeau seats, PS, 4 wheel discs, Hydraboost.

Future Modifications:Who knows, still working on it. Waiting for painting weather.

71 CJ5 project nearing a close.

This project started 5 years ago when my wife texted me a picture of a little CJ5 for sale locally.
It belonged to a gentleman who was undergoing cancer treatment and he was in need of the money so… I paid him more than it was worth because he needed it. He has since, sadly, shuffled off his mortal coil, God Rest His Soul.

I stashed the little thing behind the shop for 1.5 years while wondering what to do with it and the next summer my dear lady and I went to visit the stomping grounds of her youth. (Moab Utah). I’m here to tell you, that literally got the gears turning in my head.

During the next 9 month’s time I found a 4.3L Vortec with 50K miles, A set of 78 narrow track Dana 44s from a long gone FSJ and an SM465 truck transmission then re-geared and rebuilt the diffs with 4.28s, OX Lockers, a fabbed truss and Dutchman Alloy shafts in the rear and RCVs up front along with four wheel disc brakes. Then freshened up the SM465 with a rebuild kit and mated them together with the engine. So by now, my wife is calling this thing my girlfriend because I’m spending more time with it than her.

I then commenced to strip down the CJ and sold everything but the tub, transfer case and frame.
Stripped the frame, cut out some frame plates drilled and dimple dyed them and boxed the frame, moved the rearward cross member back 3” and fabbed up a front winch bumper and rear tire-carrier bumper that doubles as an air tank. Out-boarded some spring and shackle hangers from Rough Stuff and mounted OME lifted YJ springs for better ride and more articulation. The axles were relocated 2” rearward and 1” forward for a little extra wheel base without messing with the tub too bad. Also fitted a Saginaw power steering box up front next to the winch plate.

I mounted the tub back on the frame to check fit, fit a new top and built a full roll cage that would fit under the top.
I built a rotisserie after that and got to work on the tub. Massaged wrinkles on both rear corners that apparently materialized over the years, and patched some spots over the A pillars and floorboard that showed some rust through. Removed the rotted hat channels and fabricated a set from 1”X1.5” .120 wall rec tubing welded to 3/16” plate. The body bolts go through welded-in sleeves. I’m thinking there won’t be any crush issues.

I did a fender well mod for more room behind the steering wheel and opened up the rear wheel arch to make it look right after moving the axle back. I welded in a heavy panel for hanging pedals on the driver side and mounted a hydraulic clutch cylinder and disc/disc brake master cylinder behind a Hydroboost unit out of an F250 Superduty.
After the modifications, patches and dings in the body parts were worked out, the tub, fenders and hood were sand blasted, then I shot everything with epoxy primer and sprayed the inside and underside of the tub and fenders with LinerXtreme bed liner. (Took 1.5 three gallon kits). Also sandblasted the roll cage and miscellaneous parts that would be painted black and shot everything with epoxy then single stage gloss black including the windshield frame. Should look good on a metallic copper tub I’m hoping.

I should really name this thing “Overkill”.
I fabbed and welded up an aluminum gas tank that would fit in the space after re-positioning the rear Xmember. Uses the same fuel pump as the 2002 GMC Sierra the 4.3L came from.

It’s cold right now where I live up in Montana so I’m waiting on some good “finish painting weather” before I put together a temporary paint booth to finish up this little fellow.

In the meantime, we picked up a 96 Grand Cherokee that my wife and I are putting together for her. (She even ordered His Jeep/Her Jeep key chains. Ya just gotta love a Gal like that. Don’t know why she’s put up with me for 40 years but I’m sure glad she has. I registered it in the ZJ section under “Poo Man”

If anyone is interested, I could load up more pics of this little CJ, I have literally dozens of pictures through the build. Jeep truly does stand for: Just Empty Every Pocket.

So close now, I can just taste it!


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Registered User
View amiyank's Jeep
03-04-2020, 02:43 AM
Like it very much
It looks like a great project. A bit envious I'd have to say.

View Mr_Taterhead57's Jeep
03-04-2020, 03:38 PM
Thanks amiyank
Thank you,
Retiring this summer and looking to spend some quality time behind the wheel


Registered User
View amiyank's Jeep
03-05-2020, 12:10 PM
Also heading to retirement
hello TatH

As am I. Also looking to spend some quality time with my TJ. Got my list and the order in which I am going to start the work. New soft top and most likely doors and a hardtop. Transfer case shift cable, 1" body and 2.5" OME... loving it.

Have fun.

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