1985 CJ-7 “Time Traveler” journey continues - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 81 Old 04-30-2019, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
Axhammer
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“Time Traveler” journey continues (1985 CJ-7 build thread)

I have been fairly active, and fully engrossed in the CJ-7 frame of mind after stumbling upon a Red 1985 CJ-7 in NM, since early March this year. It just kinda happened by accident, I don’t need any more cars, but this Jeep has “turned my world” so to speak. It’s like a new purpose in life, or a mid life crisis, I can’t really explain it, but it has consumed me in a good way. I have shared a lot of info about myself and a Red 1986 CJ-7 I bought new, in the summer of 1986. I eventually sold that Jeep in 1992, or so. I have dubbed my new (34 YO) Red CJ-7 the “Time Traveler” Machine, as it is taking me back to a great time in my life. I would do it over again in a heartbeat, but I probably wouldn’t sell it if I had a second go around.

This will serve as my “Build Thread”’, I plan on limiting my threads, to just this one. I noticed today I have a whole bunch of threads running at the same time, whether or not that is good or bad, I decided to start a build thread, and try to stick to it. I don’t really consider what I’m going to do to my Jeep as a “ Build”, I plan on fixing what needs to be fixed to make it road worthy, and then enjoying it like it is. Eventually it will get a new paint job, enough lift to run 33’s, and some more robust axle assemblies one day. I will build it to wheel hard, and not break. A V-8 is not out of the question, but time will see where this journey goes.

A little info about my new Jeep, In a nutshell, I picked up a low mileage, nearly all original 1985 CJ-7 that has not been molested or abused. The PO bought it from a sibling of the original owner in Southern California. He eventually moved to New Mexico, and didn’t drive the Jeep a lot, and the condition reflects this claim. The only real wear or deterioration is in the form of split rubber bushings, faded paint, worn seats, and 34 years of use, light use. It has its fair share of dings and dents, but there is virtually no rust. What little rust there is, I will remove, treat and coat with an aggressive corrosion prevention strategy. I’ve been doing body work and painting cars since the late seventies, so this is the easy part for me, it just takes a little time and effort.

Sorry about the long post, but I want to get this off with a basic understanding of where I have been, and where I am planning on taking this Jeep. I will be asking a lot of questions along the way, it won’t be easy taking this Jeep back to the condition it was in, when it was new, or near new, but that is where we are going.

The journey continues.


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post #2 of 81 Old 05-01-2019, 07:05 AM
ranger83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axhammer View Post
I have been fairly active, and fully engrossed in the CJ-7 frame of mind after stumbling upon a Red 1985 CJ-7 in NM, since early March this year. It just kinda happened by accident, I don’t need any more cars, but this Jeep has “turned my world” so to speak. It’s like a new purpose in life, or a mid life crisis, I can’t really explain it, but it has consumed me in a good way. I have shared a lot of info about myself and a Red 1986 CJ-7 I bought new, in the summer of 1986. I eventually sold that Jeep in 1992, or so. I have dubbed my new (34 YO) Red CJ-7 the “Time Traveler” Machine, as it is taking me back to a great time in my life. I would do it over again in a heartbeat, but I probably wouldn’t sell it if I had a second go around.

This will serve as my “Build Thread”’, I plan on limiting my threads, to just this one. I noticed today I have a whole bunch of threads running at the same time, whether or not that is good or bad, I decided to start a build thread, and try to stick to it. I don’t really consider what I’m going to do to my Jeep as a “ Build”, I plan on fixing what needs to be fixed to make it road worthy, and then enjoying it like it is. Eventually it will get a new paint job, enough lift to run 33’s, and some more robust axle assemblies one day. I will build it to wheel hard, and not break. A V-8 is not out of the question, but time will see where this journey goes.

A little info about my new Jeep, In a nutshell, I picked up a low mileage, nearly all original 1985 CJ-7 that has not been molested or abused. The PO bought it from a sibling of the original owner in Southern California. He eventually moved to New Mexico, and didn’t drive the Jeep a lot, and the condition reflects this claim. The only real wear or deterioration is in the form of split rubber bushings, faded paint, worn seats, and 34 years of use, light use. It has its fair share of dings and dents, but there is virtually no rust. What little rust there is, I will remove, treat and coat with an aggressive corrosion prevention strategy. I’ve been doing body work and painting cars since the late seventies, so this is the easy part for me, it just takes a little time and effort.

Sorry about the long post, but I want to get this off with a basic understanding of where I have been, and where I am planning on taking this Jeep. I will be asking a lot of questions along the way, it won’t be easy taking this Jeep back to the condition it was in, when it was new, or near new, but that is where we are going.

The journey continues.
I know what you are going through. Bought a brand new CJ5 in 1983 when I graduated high school. Selling it was a huge mistake but 3 yrs ago I took the plunge and bought my 86 CJ that was basically in the same condition as yours. This forum and the guys and gals on it are some of the best people I have met in my 54 yrs and they are always willing to support and help. Followed your posts so far and will continue on watching this thread.


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post #3 of 81 Old 05-01-2019, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
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After driving 2000 miles cross country, and several local trips I am pretty comfortable with my CJ-7’s reliability. It stops and starts fine, the only issue that I plan on fixing is the steering. It doesn’t really wander, but it doesn’t instill confidence either. I usually have two hands on the steering wheel.

I checked all the steering components a couple days ago, and everything is good, no excessive wear. The toe in was about 1/16” toe out, so I adjusted it to about 3/16” toe in, and that helped the steering, but I’m still not happy with it. The wheel bearings had a little slop, so I removed the rotors and cleaned and inspected the bearings and races. In got it back together tonight, with the exception of the brakes. One of four pads was worn to the rivets. The other three looked like new. So tomorrow I’ll pick up a set of pads and get it together for a test drive. I don’t know if tightening the wheel bearings will help the steering, but I’ll find out tomorrow.

If that doesn’t help I’ll put some shims under the axle mount pads, and see if it wants more castor. On way or another I’ll get this thing driving better, as far as the steering goes.

So far all the hardware is original and parts seem to be in good shape for it’s age.
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post #4 of 81 Old 05-02-2019, 07:54 AM
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If you have the Saginaw steering box you can adjust it. Loosen the locknut and turn the adjuster with a screw driver clockwise until you meet resistance. This may help but remember you're driving a Jeep. Air pressure can also affect steering and changes with changes in temperature and altitude. Folks joke about changing to summer air but there is some truth to it.

You may want to take it to an alignment shop have it checked if your eldest didn't in El Paso.

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post #5 of 81 Old 05-02-2019, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob4703 View Post
If you have the Saginaw steering box you can adjust it. Loosen the locknut and turn the adjuster with a screw driver clockwise until you meet resistance. This may help but remember you're driving a Jeep. Air pressure can also affect steering and changes with changes in temperature and altitude. Folks joke about changing to summer air but there is some truth to it.

You may want to take it to an alignment shop have it checked if your eldest didn't in El Paso.
Good call on the tire pressure, they were a little hard...I set all four at 30 PSI. Between the freshly repacked wheel bearings, and less tire pressure, it drove better. It’s still not as good as I want it, but I’m moving in the right direction.

I’m planning on driving it to work in the morning, so all is good in my little CJ-7 world. Who needs a stinking roof, I’m going topless. And I ordered my new Hardtop Lift-gate, along with a bunch of other Hardtop parts. I’ll have a nice functional Hardtop and steel doors soon, to complete the package, but I won’t really need it until October or November.

I’m attaching a couple pictures of the worst rust on my Jeep. I’ll have to remove the roll bar and get at it, I’ll stop it in its tracks, and get it coated with paint before reinstalling the rollbar.
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post #6 of 81 Old 05-02-2019, 07:40 PM
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Adjusting that Saginaw box is the beginning of the end, and usually doesn't end well. Get a rebuilt box if it's failing and save yourself a lot of time.
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post #7 of 81 Old 05-02-2019, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walkerhoundvm View Post
Adjusting that Saginaw box is the beginning of the end, and usually doesn't end well. Get a rebuilt box if it's failing and save yourself a lot of time.
x2 on this. Don't even bother with adjusting/rebuilding the box. Buy a new one and call it done.
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post #8 of 81 Old 05-02-2019, 08:41 PM
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I’ve thought about adjusting my Saginaw box a few times but recommendations like above have always nudged me not to mess with it. I’ll say this, when I first got my CJ5 I was white knuckles every where I went. Part of the problem was a missing stabilizer. After installing a beefy stabilizer my handling was greatly improved, but I still didn’t feel confident and relaxed driving her. I have about three inches of dead space in my steering wheel. However, after spending a year driving it everywhere we’ve grown to trust and understand each other and I’m as comfortable driving her as I am my much newer vehicle. My point is, not much else drives like a CJ and you will get reacquainted. Just stay at speeds she feels safe at until you work it out.

If you chose not to adjust yours, just make sure it has lubrication. Take off the bolt to the right of the adjustment screw and look for grease to make sure the box isn’t dry. It should be packed with grease.


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post #9 of 81 Old 05-03-2019, 06:11 AM Thread Starter
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My morning commute to work went great, the steering & drivability is pretty good as it is. One thing of note is, I believe my steering gearbox has been replaced, something I noticed during my post trip inspection, but failed to report. It doesn’t have any slack or other undesirable characteristics. I’m going to run through the entire front end alignment and component checks, and install some 2 degree castor shims next. I think I will be go to go for daily driving after going through everything one more time in addition to the shims. My final task in getting it up to snuff for daily driving duty will be to pull and center the steering wheel, like it was when it was new.

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post #10 of 81 Old 05-03-2019, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Come home from work today and my new lift gate was waiting for me.
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post #11 of 81 Old 05-03-2019, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Made in Taiwan. Looks fine at first glance.
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post #12 of 81 Old 05-04-2019, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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I was going to remove the screens from my Jeep headlights, but they replace the original stainless steel headlight retention rings. I don’t have any to replace them with. Until I find the rings I need, the screens must remain. If anyone has a couple headlight retention rings the want to sell, let me know. My local Jeep wrecking yard is about a hundred miles away. I also need a passenger review mirror, a black one. The one on my Jeep has been rebent to put the mirror aft of the windshield (when viewed while driving), which is a actually not bad if you don’t have the steel doors on, but since I have steel doors, I need that mirror to be out of the way of the door when the door is opened.

So, I need an unmolested black passenger rear view mirror and a couple headlight retention rings.
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post #13 of 81 Old 05-05-2019, 07:55 AM
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You can buy new mirror brackets. Try 4WD.COM or Quadratec. They may have the headlight rings.

Google Ironman Restorations in Pickens SC for headlight rings. He'll ship to you. His prices may often be dear but you'll get what you pay for.

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post #14 of 81 Old 05-05-2019, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Bob, the more sources I have or know about the better. Ax

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post #15 of 81 Old 05-05-2019, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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I received my new lift-gate glass weather strip. Omix-ADA Made in China, looks like it should work fine. I will clean my glass, and install it in my new Keyparts Lift-gate and post the results for everyone who might be interested in this new lift gate being reproduced by Keyparts.

After I determine whether or not this Keyparts lift-gate is a keeper, I’m going to paint it to match the interior of my used hardtop. My hardtop has never been painted inside or outside. I want the end result to be a matching off white color on the inside of my hardtop, like when it came from the factory.

In the end I will probably paint the exterior of my hardtop semi gloss black. That is the color my old Jeep was when it was new in 1986, and the goal of my new (1985 CJ-7) Jeep “Time Traveler” machine is to be like my old one was when I sold it in 1992. I say that because I put a 2.5” lift kit and 33” mud radials on my old Jeep back in 1990 after I transferred to Coast Guard AirSta Savannah in the summer of 1990.
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