Chris's Ongoing CJ5 Build - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-27-2021, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
Chewtoy
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Chris' Ongoing CJ5 Build

Hey Folks.

Forgive me Jeep for I have sinned. It has been a long time since my last confession. My poor ole CJ5 has been sitting patiently in the garage waiting for me to get back to working on it for a few years and now is the time to re-engage in Jeep Life. The Jeep was parked a few years ago after my daughter and I went for a run with a local group up here in N Idaho. We were crossing a log and slid sideways a bit, an unseen tree branch jump up from down below, creased the hood, bent the windshield frame and poked its way about 2 inches through the windshield. I got a new frame all painted up and ready to have the glass installed and then life got in the way. Jeep has been sitting ever since. I thought about just throwing the frame back on and moving on but my OCD/ADD/insatiable need to keep upgrading things took over and I realized, the frame needed a bit of work, probably ought to replace the 4-5 body/frame mounts that have disappeared over the last 45 years since my Jeep was born in 1976. Should fix the crappy body repair jobs that previous owners have tried. Need to replace the rear frame cross member which also seems like a good time to install the OEM 20 gal gas tank I snagged off craigslist. Well nuts, I have touched or replaced everything else on this Jeep, must be time to pull the body and get to work.

I am a decent hobby mechanic, but I have never attempted body work so there is significant apprehension about this project. So I figured I would start a build thread and get help along the way. I thought I had a build thread already, but after looking at my list of threads on this forum over the years, it appears I have bits and pieces threads everywhere. So lets start with the base of what I am working with.

1976 Jeep CJ5 - unknown number of previous owners, I have had it about 11 years. In that time here is the general list of mods as she sits now (we all know they go through a progression).
  • 304 / T18 / D20 - Junk yard EFI transplant from a Chevy 305.
  • Dana 44s - rear from a Rodeo -, front from a Waggy, ~60" WMS,
  • Gears 4:30 (thick cut) TrueTrak in back with G2 chromoly axles, Rubicon air locker up front
  • SOA suspension - steering fixed with flat top knuckles and 1 ton links. Shackle reverse on the front, out-boarded YJ flat springs with an extra main spring for durability.
  • Centrix wiring harness
  • A bunch of other little stuff...

Primary goals are to
  • Fix body rust issues
  • Cut in a tailgate because I don't have one now.
  • Fix frame issues (rear cross member, look for cracks)
  • replace 20 gal after market tank with OEM 20 gal tank.
  • Fix and replace all body frame mounts
  • Build / install full cage
  • Fix lot of little issues along the way

This weekend and last, I built a rolling body dolly and have been slowly stripping the interior and prepping to pull the tub. Looks like a PO (or several) tried fixing body issues before as there are areas of bondo that look to be 1/4 in thick fiberglass covered holes and semi solid weld in patches. The rear wheel wells have holes where the roll bar was sitting and a bunch of bugger welds where someone tried repairing them. The bottom of the jeep has some sort of spray in undercoating that appears to have resisted rusting pretty well but I won't really know until I can get this tub sand or soda blasted to see what I am really up against.

Here is where she sits today.


Just a few gratuitus pics of what she looked like all put together




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post #2 of 11 Old 06-27-2021, 05:20 PM
GraySkies
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Looking forward to seeing you get it all fixed up! Looks like you've got some pretty good stuff already done to it.

Michael
Western Washington
'66 CJ5 under construction
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-11-2021, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
Chewtoy
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Not a huge update, but progress none-the-less. Got to spend a few hours pulling the passenger fender, spare tire carrier / bumper and rear wiring harness.


Starting to see problem areas show up already. 1/4" thick bondo a PO used to hide damage
,

buggered up welding on patch jobs
,

and I am pretty sure the roll bar was only held in my two bolts as the other side looks the same.
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-29-2021, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
Chewtoy
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Got some work done this weekend. My daughter jumped in an helped me pull the last of the interior and wiring harness. Here is how she sits today.


She went to see her friends and I continued tinkering with the body mounts. All 6 mounts down each side just spun as soon as the impact touched them. I had to grind the heads off the mounting bolts to remove them. I already knew the two outside mounts in the rear cross member were gone. The two inside rear mounts and the two above the rear axle came out quietly, for which I was extremely grateful. With a cherry picker and slow movement I was able to pull the body and place it sideways on the body dolly I built a few weeks ago. The body lifted off very easily, no popping, grinding or anything, just lifted right off. Near as I can tell the tub was held on by 4 (maybe 5) of the 12 mounting points

Looking at the damage so far, 4 of the 6 side frame mounts left the mount and capture nut attached to the frame. 1 bolt stayed in the body attached to a spinning capture nut and 1 bolt fled the scene, no idea where it went, probably dropped back into the support bracket when I tilted the tub sideways to set it on the dolly.



To get this tub back on the frame, I am going to have to replace just about every under tub support bracket, wheel wells, rear corners (if I want a tail gate) and I have not even started to peel the 1/4" of bondo off the side panels. I must admit, I am feeling overwhelmed at the level of work this tub is going to need to get it back into a serviceable condition. My goal is to pressure wash the chassis this weekend and really inspect the frame, so we will see how that turns out.

I have always had an off road rig of one sort or another since I was old enough to drive and motorcycles before that. I am partial to Jeeps, but this particular one does not hold a lot of sentimental value other than it provides project time with my kids (only one left at home) when it is in the garage and outdoor fun time with them and friends when it is on the trail. I see four options for moving this project forward.
  1. Get to work on the body by replacing 60%+ of the sheet metal. This could take years to complete with my schedule and skill set.
  2. Provided the frame is all good other than the rear cross member which I know needs replaced. Find a solid '76+ CJ 5 body in the wild (which I don't think that is likely) or buy a fiberglass tub from ShellValley.com for around $3K by the time it gets to me. Willy's Overland steel tubs are $5K+ last I looked.
  3. Find a reasonably solid stock YJ on Craigslist for $3K-5K and migrate my drive train over to it. (should be pretty plug and play as a YJ is basically a galvanized CJ7 with some goofy cosmetics) and part the rest out to ease the cash outlay.
  4. Part out everything, put the cash in the bank an keep my eye out for the next Jeep.

I am leaning toward the ShellVally fiberglass tub option as I think that would be the closest cost option to building / repairing my current tub and it won't leave me second guessing where the rest of the rust is hiding or if I did not rust proof my repairs enough.

Let me know what you think, I always appreciate the advice on this board.


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post #5 of 11 Old 08-28-2021, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
Chewtoy
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Just a quick update. Took the tub, fenders and hood to the sand blaster last weekend. This weekend I pulled the rest of the wiring harness, radiator and front grill. Pulled the chaises out to the driveway and pressure washed it.

I need to replace the rear cross member. So might as well get that part rolling. There are few HD ones out there, but after a few searches, there is a Jeeper from the CJ-8 forum that makes an HD rear cross member. [email protected] https://www.cj-8.com/threads/laser-c...-kansas.21906/ The last thread I saw was 2016, but he is still around and selling them by word of mouth. I'll post up some pics when it gets here.

Cheers.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-29-2021, 06:14 AM
Jim1611
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You'll like the Chief's crossmember.
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My build thread

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post #7 of 11 Old 09-02-2021, 05:56 AM
76cj5248
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Hello,
I also have a 76CJ5 and I put a Shell Valley fiberglass tub and fenders and hood on it. There's a bit of work figuring out the hole locations but overall I'm all in for the glass body as it's my second one (first was on a 73CJ5) both had 304's and this one I had built at a local race shop and boy does it sound nice. I also have a build thread but I stalled on the work for a while due to cancer and then lifes many duties. You can do a search on 76cj5248 and you should find it and if you have any questions I'll do my best and there's always people here to help out, good luck and keep at it
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-02-2021, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
Chewtoy
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@76cj5248 , I like the looks of the Shell Valley tub and the lack of having to cut out the rust and weld it back together in the proper structure. After speaking to them, I run into 2 issues that push me back to repairing my tub and that is I need wider wheel wells for stuffing 35" tires and I really want a tailgate to have easier access to tools and sit on for lunch out in the boonies. I can't get either in one of their glass tubs, otherwise I'd probably already have it on order. So it looks like I am either repairing mine, or buying a new tub from Overland Willies. With my cheapskate nature, unless the OE tub doesn't come back from the sand blaster because it was all rust or requires me to build it from scratch, I am probably on the slow DIY path of reconstruction. God could always smile on me and show me a perfect 76+ CJ5 tub on Craigslist I suppose, but I don't think it likely.


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post #9 of 11 Old 09-03-2021, 06:21 PM
Rkuehljr
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Posts: 40
I have one of the MD Juan steel tubs that I bought “fixed”. My experience is if you go with one of these tubs, buy it from whoever will sell it to you cheapest. It sounds like you have the skills to fix what they do and your work will match your frame


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post #10 of 11 Old 09-07-2021, 02:36 PM
76cj5248
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I still have my 76 tub and fenders and hood (although I was going to use the hood as a wall hanging) I'm in coastal NH. It wasn't too bad but also didn't have a tailgate you'd be welcome to it for parts
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post #11 of 11 Old 09-07-2021, 03:36 PM
JEEPFELLER
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See This

It may help with installing your stuff without guessing it all.

Post 8 in https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/f...ll-bl-4422067/

-----JEEPFELLER
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