1978 CJ-7 Restoration - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-20-2021, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
jproberts_78cj7
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1978 CJ-7 Restoration

Hi. I have inherited a 1978 CJ-7 Levi's Edition from my dad who recently passed away. It only has 27,000 miles on it (20,000 of which I put on when I was a teenager 35 years ago - lol). It's drive-able but needs some work done to the engine and the body. I would like to get it worked on/restored and able to be a daily driver plus off-road capable if possible. I live near Pensacola, FL but the jeep is in MS. I'll be transporting it down in a couple of weeks. I'd like to know if there is a quality restoration shop in MS, AL or northwest Florida that someone could recommend. My primary goal is to have the engine tuned up (possibly replaced), the bodywork done and repainted and a lift-kit and new tires added. If anyone in MS, AL or NW FL could point me in the right direction, I would appreciate it!

Thanks in advance!

John Roberts

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post #2 of 17 Old 07-20-2021, 08:09 PM
emiller35
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John,

Sorry to hear about the passing of your father. I’m in The pensacola area as well. From what I know there are a few great shops around the general area, but I have yet to find a one-stop shop type of place. Feel free to shoot me a PM, but for others here some additional info to add might be what you’re looking to spend on this “restoration”.
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-20-2021, 09:14 PM
BagusJeep
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Sorry for your loss but he has left you a great Jeep.

You have a 258 with 1bbl carb so there are some options for getting it to run smooth and pull strong. As long as your engine is basically good condition, with good compression, you could get later manifolds fitted (post 1981) for a 2bbl and go to a larger carb. The ignition system is probably Prestolite which may or may not work, there are cheap quality alternatives. All this can be done in your driveway or by an average Jeep mechanic in only a few hours and will pep it up. Finding the parts first would make it easy for them, try ebay or a wanted ad on jeepforum.

As it has been standing it will need a lot more than just this, fluid change and brake overhaul and probably every rubber part is dry rotted. All easy stuff to fix.

The body looks great in Olympic White but the Jeep problem is rust. If yours is rust free then most body shops will take it on, they are a bit picky with rusty old jeeps as the hours grow quickly when you deal with rust. The paint may even clean up, there are original paint jeeps out there, and a coat of clear could be applied to keep it in good condition, though the renegade decals are fading they can be replaced. A body shop will be a better place than a 4x4 shop for body work.

The Levi's interior material is hard to get but does exist. Collins Brothers have some and there must be other stocks. With such low mileage, how is the interior?

A small lift and wheels and tires are easy work and bread and butter 4x4 shop work.

BagusJeep lives in Bali with far too many 4x4s:
1981 CJ7 258ci - Bagusjeep
1984 CJ7 258ci - Puthijeep
1981 J20 258ci - Gladys
1951 Willys CJ3A/MB/M38 - Little Willy
1995 Cherokee 4.0 - CHEROKEE
1980 Land Rover Series III 109" troop carrier - ROVER
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-21-2021, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
jproberts_78cj7
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Hey.Thanks emiller35. I'll shoot you a PM but in regards to what I have to spend on the restoration, I could probably swing 5 to 10k. I know to do a full top to bottom frame off restoration it would be quite a bit more than that so that will have to happen later on. My goals for the CJ right now are to get the engine tuned up and running good, replace the hard top with a new soft one and replace the broken taillight and fender flares. I'd love to get the bodywork done and have it repainted as well if the budget would allow for that. It's drive-able now but there's a leak around the brake fluid reservoir and you have to fill it up before driving. I think it's a good base to start from and hope for years of enjoyment fixing her up and driving her on and off road.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-21-2021, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks BagusJeep! I appreciate it! Thanks for the info as well! The interior is pretty junked up but nothing that couldn't be fixed with some clean up. The main issue are missing knobs on the dash controls and some tearing in the Levi's fabric. The hard top probably needs to be replaced as the doors are shot. The passenger side window won't roll up all the way anymore. I'd like to go back to the soft top but that's an easy replacement. My primary concern right now is just getting the engine tuned up and running good. After that, I can start looking at the cosmetic stuff. I've thought about what I'd like to do with it and instead of turning it into a showpiece and having it look just like it did in '78, I think I'd like to make it a daily driver than can get back to wheeling. That was one of my dad's favorite things to do with it and it hasn't been off road in years when my dad's health starting failing. Thanks again for the great info! Glad to be part of this forum!
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-21-2021, 02:52 PM
devildog80
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Budget of $5-10k, if you did most of the work yourself and/or knowledgeable friends helping, you could do a lot with that amount. No doubt time is usually the one thing most of us have the least available to put into working on our rigs, but never be afraid to grab a wrench and try, and always ask lots of questions when your not confident in your project. Many many many years of experience on this Forum, from all parts of the world, and the only stupid/dumb question.....is the one that is never asked.
The satisfaction of doing many small things, for the good of the build project, has its own reward, so have fun, and looking forward to watching you bring your Dad's Jeep, to where you want it as your Jeep!
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-21-2021, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks devildog80! That's a great idea! I think doing a good bit of the work myself would make me feel closer to my dad as well! Looking forward to learning a lot from everyone on the Forum!
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-21-2021, 03:38 PM
Cj7prm
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Save the doors. The window regulator can be fixed. If you prefer the soft doors, the hard doors have value
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Paul
"The right thing at the wrong price is better than the wrong thing at any price"
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-21-2021, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
jproberts_78cj7
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Originally Posted by Cj7prm View Post
Save the doors. The window regulator can be fixed. If you prefer the soft doors, the hard doors have value
That's a great idea Cj7prm! Thanks! I think I'd prefer the soft top/doors but will save the hard top and doors.
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-21-2021, 06:30 PM
gfrench
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Sorry for your loss...

Remember it is only "Original" once... I say give a good cleaning and try buffing out the paint to see what you have to work with.

Then focus on the engine as suggested with some simple upgrades to get her running smooth.
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1976 CJ5

Frame Off Restoration underway!
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post #11 of 17 Old 07-21-2021, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jproberts_78cj7 View Post
Thanks devildog80! That's a great idea! I think doing a good bit of the work myself would make me feel closer to my dad as well! Looking forward to learning a lot from everyone on the Forum!
Condolences on your loss.

Devildog80 is right ... with a $5-10K budget, you could do A LOT of this yourself. I'm in the final stages of a frame-off on my 1980 CJ7; parts ran me $9600 (and I now know EVERY nut, bolt, screw, weld, panel, and electrical connection on that beast!). I had a fair bit of mechanical experience going in, but it's still been (and continues to be) a learning experience.

There are tons of threads on restorations you can check out.

Get used to doing searches ... and spending plenty of time reading.

Remember: no Jeep project is ever "complete;" it just evolves from one stage to another.

Luck to you!
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"Grinders and Paint Make You The Welder You Ain't!" -- from a t-shirt
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post #12 of 17 Old 07-21-2021, 08:30 PM
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When I drag home a new beauty I always take out the interior, take the top off and give it a thorough clean and paint inside. i have a fair few bits and pieces and with a few items off the interweb can get them looking acceptable. The greatest changes can be made quite cheaply, like swapping a bikini and fabric half doors for a hard top and hard doors or dumping a ratty soft top for a safari top and duster cover.

The knobs, regulators etc, can all be found on line at specialists. Sometimes the door internals just get gummed up, whipping off the trim panel and squirting WD40 gets a lot of it working followed by grease.

Fortunately i now have a great interior guy who is real cheap. I bought an industrial sewing machine and the materials and left him to it. my latest purchase was a Land Rover Series 3 from the Indonesian Army and he is making new canvas, seat covers etc, which, with a little hand painting, has freshened up the beast to the point I can take it out. He is now working his way through all the Jeeps, fixing and making new parts.
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BagusJeep lives in Bali with far too many 4x4s:
1981 CJ7 258ci - Bagusjeep
1984 CJ7 258ci - Puthijeep
1981 J20 258ci - Gladys
1951 Willys CJ3A/MB/M38 - Little Willy
1995 Cherokee 4.0 - CHEROKEE
1980 Land Rover Series III 109" troop carrier - ROVER
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post #13 of 17 Old 07-21-2021, 09:37 PM
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I'm going to second the notion of cleaning it up first, and waiting a good long while before you decide to do anything other than clean up and tune up..

Yes, you can fix/ replace missing /damaged thing like knobs and taillights, but with that low of miles, I'd think much more along the lines of freshen up as opposed to restore (at least for now)

Spend a little time getting reacquainted with its soul; let your Dad speak to you through it for a bit, THEN decide what your next step will be!

Hoss

Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement
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post #14 of 17 Old 07-22-2021, 11:18 AM
bob4703
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If it were mine the first thing I'd do would be to clean it up. After you wash away some of the black soot impregnated in the white paint it could change your mind about what you want to do with it. Then get it dependable and safe to drive.

Ask yourself what direction would your dad take in bringing it back to life? Think about your answer and follow your heart.
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post #15 of 17 Old 07-22-2021, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
jproberts_78cj7
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I wanted to thank all of you for your condolences and the awesome advice! This is a great forum and I'm excited to be part of it! I think I will take y'all's advice and give her a good cleaning first then get her running smooth! Then decide which direction to go in. Dad would definitely want her back out running the trails I think. Looking forward to that day! 😊 I'm heading up to MS and transporting the CJ back home in a week or two. I'll probably post more images of the process as I go along. I have a feeling that this will be a life long adventure for sure! Thanks again!
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