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Deer-Slayer_5 07-01-2019 01:17 PM

Josh's 1985 CJ7 Restoration
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Hey guys! I am sure you have seen me around here on a few threads but I normally just do a lot of reading on here. I love seeing all of the stuff people are doing with their Jeeps. If I can't figure it out by myself, from the FSM or my Grandfather, I come here. With that said, since I am doing a complete restoration, I figured I can document what I have done now and continue to document. I would like to look back on it some day and I would really like to contribute some help to us CJ folks.

I bought this CJ7 in 2018 that I found on Facebook market place. It was local and the best looking one on Facebook. $2,600 and it was mine! It had issues but I knew it from the start and was willing to fix it. Hard top and pre 1981 hard doors were included along with a box of parts and little trim stuff. It also didn't run when I bought it but I knew what it needed.

About the Jeep:
258 with a T5 transmission and a dana 300, AMC 20 rear axle and a Dana 30 in the front. Pretty much a base Jeep but I am not sure if it had a package on it due to it being repainted a few times. LOTS of rust! Had the nutter bypass done and the cooling system was re-routed... not sure why someone would do that but I guess it got them by. Here are some pictures before the carnage started!

Deer-Slayer_5 07-01-2019 01:30 PM

Tear down
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Once I found a new corroborator, it only took a few turn overs to get it running. Once it was running, I started the tear down. The brake lines were rusted out and the rear frame was looking to be unstable to drive, so I bought this jeep and didn't drive it before I tore it apart.

While taking it apart, my dad and I broke majority of the boy mount bolts and we were finding a lot of issues with the body just being rusty. I think we filled a 5 gallon bucket just with rust and broken bolts. A full day in the garage and the body was out and so was the motor.

JoonHoss 07-01-2019 01:53 PM

Oh, I'm IN! :thumbsup:


keith460 07-01-2019 02:09 PM

I'm in, pass me a beer.

Deer-Slayer_5 07-02-2019 01:44 PM

Frame Repair
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Basically I am playing catch up right now with the documenting.. I just graduated from college in May so for about 8 months I paused everything Jeep related. Now that I have a Job and a way to fund this project I am preparing the small stuff for when a better tub comes along. The tub I have is trashed. Lots of rust and hack job fixings. I forgot to mention... If you all have any comments or opinions, feel free to share! I take criticism constructively! I'm not a "snowflake" Lol

In March of 2018 I had the frame sandblasted for $100. The guy did a great job and got the inside of the frame as best he could. The worst spot was the common rear frame by the leaf spring mounts. I found the Safe T Cap kits and did a lot of measuring before the fitment. I took my time welding so I wouldn’t over heat the area. Basically I would weld one side and inch or two then hop over to the other side. I did this pattern until it was done. Then I would grind the welds smooth and touch up some spots and grind smooth. At the end of this I took some quick setting JB Weld for metal and used it as a “filler” where the transition of the Safe T Cap met the original frame. Purely for appearance reasons. I’m very picky to close details that no one will see and I’m hell bent on doing it right.

I used Eastwood’s Rust Encapsulator and the Extreme Chassis Black for the outside of the frame and Eastwood’s Internal Frame Coating for the inside. I used two cans of the internal coating if anyone needs that info. Overall I like Eastwood products. They spray well when you follow the instructions. Prep is the key to painting along with mixing the proper amounts and proper spray settings.

I also repaired the body mount holes and drilled new holes (not shown). Sorry for the pictures being sideways... not sure how to fix that

keith460 07-02-2019 01:48 PM

Have you purchased a new rear cross member yet? Classic Enterprises makes and exact duplicate of the OEM in both fitment and gauge steel.
They can be found here:

Deer-Slayer_5 07-02-2019 02:05 PM


Originally Posted by keith460 (Post 40666171)
Have you purchased a new rear cross member yet? Classic Enterprises makes and exact duplicate of the OEM in both fitment and gauge steel.
They can be found here:

I did purchase a new cross member, but not this brand.. I looked for awhile for a new cross member but all I found was the Omix one so I settled with it. I measured everything and it seemed to be pretty damn close to the original. I think one or two holes were off by less than a 1/16" but turns out I don't need them anyways. It is a little thicker than what I took off but I like that so far. We will see though when I get a tub. If it doesnt work out, I know where I'll be going!

This brings a questions up that I've had for awhile now... What's with the debate with Crown and Omix? I hear good reviews and then I hear awful things. Personally, from the things I have bought from both manufactures, they are okay. Some parts seem better than others but I don't understand some of the hate. Can anyone can elaborate? (I will probably regret asking this)

keith460 07-02-2019 02:28 PM

It's a crap shot on the quality you get from either Crown or Omix. But I can tell you this, I bought the Crown rear cross member for a Jeep CJ, rear section, wall mounted workbench project and it was thin like sheet metal. Link here:
Would never use it on a real Jeep. But I also replaced the one on my frame during restoration, forget where, but it was OEM quality and fitment.

Deer-Slayer_5 07-02-2019 03:32 PM

I took a look at some old purchases and it was from Omix. Surprisingly my crossmember/bumper is 1/8" thick. It looked heavy duty next to the one I took off the Jeep forever ago. Maybe the PO replaced it already? It was welded on to the frame on the top side. I'm thinking it wasn't though.

Deer-Slayer_5 07-02-2019 04:03 PM

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Moving forward on the build, I dug into the AMC 20 and the Dana 30. The rear axle needed some help. The bearings were going out at the carrier and the pinion. I'll be honest, I have a lot of tools but not ones for setting pinion washers and presses to get bearings off. So for this job I had it sent out. Working at Napa helped with a trustworthy shop and the rear end was rebuilt. I have a 3.31 ratio in the rear and plan to run stock wheels on it. After cleaning the axel up, it got a rust treatment and a coat of black. The rear got new everything, you name it, it got it.

Onto the front, a greasy sloppy mess.. Again, Replaced all bearings except for the carrier and pinion bearings. The front axle look to be hardly used. I ran into the issue of the ball joint sleeve for the upper ball joint. Couldn't get it out without damaging threads so that had to be carefully tapped/ chased. Good as new after that! This front axel also got new everything. Coats of paint and we were looking good!

Next after the axles were complete, I had new leaf springs made by a local spring shop. I went stock ride height and the set of springs used for a Jeep with a hard top. There was a rolling chassis by mid April 2018.

kd7oir 07-02-2019 07:50 PM

Popcorn in hand 🍿I get to see what awaits me with my build.
😁 Shawn

Jim1611 07-03-2019 01:22 PM

You asked for advice so here's some. After seeing the market drying up on decent parts for our CJs it's of the utmost importance that you save everything in as good a condition as you can keep it. That part that you might think is not worth saving may be selling on ebay for allot of money. An example of this is a factory dash pad. I see them on ebay way overpriced and in not very good shape. So with that being said take care of every part you have. Enjoy the work too!

Deer-Slayer_5 07-15-2019 03:53 PM


Originally Posted by Jim1611 (Post 40667406)
That part that you might think is not worth saving may be selling on ebay for allot of money.

I have already figured this out! I have the 20 gallon gas tank in mine and the original skid plate rotted out. So much that I couldn't even make a template out of it. So I found one on eBay in great shape, swallowed my pride and paid $225 for it. But I wanted it to look right so I guess I wasn't afraid to pay it.

Deer-Slayer_5 07-15-2019 04:16 PM

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I took a little vacation this last week and some time to dig up more pictures of the work I've done the last year.

I had the engine sent out late august to be bored out. Nothing really special here, other than a dirty greasy mess. Just some before and progress pictures.

Deer-Slayer_5 07-15-2019 04:45 PM

Engine Continued
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So according to my Grandfather, who was an AMC Regional Service Manager, the 258 had a cylinder 1 problem. Because the water inlet was at cyl. 1 it was always the coolest so it wore out the quickest. Cooler cylinder equals tighter tolerances. EXACTLY the case with mine. I had roughly 144k on my engine and it was pretty much done. Took it to a machine shop and had to bore it .060". This guy liked to be perfect and balanced the rotating assembly +/- .30 of a gram. Also did a valve job as well.

After I got the engine back, It was winter time. Too cold to paint so I covered it up and waited some more. We had a heat wave in January where it got up into the high 60s so I took advantage of it with the help of a kerosene heater.

I wanted to go with the AMC blue instead of the original black. They went away from blue because this was the transition of AMC to Chrysler/ Mopar. Someone can fact check me on that though. I bought some 2k ceramic engine paint from Eastwood and it looks pretty darn close to AMC blue. I followed all prep instructions and sprayed away. Waited a few weeks to assemble just to make sure all paint was hardened with the cooler temperatures.

The time now is 07:09 AM.

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