LJameson's 1976 CJ7 Restoration - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-22-2020, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
LJameson
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LJameson's 1976 CJ7 Restoration

A little back story of my CJ7. My grandfather purchased this Jeep in 1984 for our cabin in the Sierras. According to him, it was a weird car buying experience. Him and my dad went to the sellers house to look at it, and everything looked to be in good order. The seller had the smog certificate, the Jeep looked to be in good condition, and drove fairly well. When my dad and grandfather went inside the apartment to complete the deal, the sellers family was in the other room talking on the phone frantically in Hebrew, and the guy selling it seem to be in a rush.


A few months later, registration and smog was due. My grandfather took it to a smog station, and the guy took one look under the hood and said "I'm not touching that with a ten foot pole!" Turns out, the previous owner installed a Holly 4 barrel, headers, dual exhaust and removed all of the emissions equipment. My grandfather gave the smog tech the certificate that the previous owner gave him, and the guy then informed him that it was a fake. Upset about all this, my grandfather returned to their apartment to confront them about it. He knocks on the door, no answer. He peeked inside the window and saw the apartment was vacant. He contacts the property manager, asking if they had a forwarding address or if he knows how to get a hold of them. The manager said "Oh yeah, as soon as they sold that Jeep, they got on the next flight to Jerusalem and left the country."



My grandfather then took it to a Jeep dealer in Fresno and had everything returned to stock, costing him a good bit of money. But now he had a decent, stock CJ7 to drive around the Sierras. When I was three years old, I fell in love with it. My grandpa says that is when I decided it was "my jeep!" and he would eventually hand it down to me.



Me in front of the CJ7 circa 1991.



Here is how the Jeep sits now, prior to teardown. About 15 years ago, my dad and I put a cheap 2.5'' lift, 31's, bestop seats, and a tuffy center console. 3 years ago I replaced the cheap lift with some OME YJ springs and bilstein shocks.






My plan: restoring it to 100% stock. I want this Jeep to look exactly how it did leaving the factory in 1976. I'm going to do most of the work, except the body work. Luckily, it has always been a California Jeep, so there is no rust on it.


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post #2 of 8 Old 05-22-2020, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
LJameson
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Began the teardown by taking the grill and fenders off. Then, pull the engine/trans/tcase out as one unit.



One of the issues caused by the previous owner is the toe boards. He torched the corners out of them to run headers and exhaust. Now, years later, the toe boards have cracked and the body mounts are going through them. I ordered a new set from classic enterprises, and will have my body guy replace them for me.


Next, I moved onto the interior. I am lucky with this jeep that the dash harness is un-molested and still in excellent shape. Even the dash is still in great shape. The radio opening is still factory and uncut, I even have the original AM radio sitting in my house. The only issue with the dash is a hole drilled into from the previous owner for the choke. I plan to have all of the non-factory holes drilled into the body by either me, my dad or the previous owner filled.







Few other issues with the body. First, is both the doors are cracked in the usual spots. Even my YJ full doors have started to crack there. Second, the hardtop cracked where the liftgate struts bolt to the top. I have no idea how to fix it, but my body guy says he can.




The only body damage on the outside was caused by my dad. He used to tow the CJ7 behind our motorhome. One day when he unhooked it from the RV, he forgot to put it into gear or set the parking brake. The jeep rolled down our driveway and hit the fence, denting the corner.



The spare tire rack mount also doesn't look to be factory. Probably going to find factory brackets and fill the two screw holes behind the plate.

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post #3 of 8 Old 05-22-2020, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
LJameson
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Got the engine on the stand and began teardown. About 15 years ago my dad paid a shop to rebuild the engine, and I suspected that they didn't actually rebuild it, but just pulled the engine out, replaced all the gaskets and gave it a fresh paint job. It seems that is true, since the bearings I took out are the original AMC bearings. Pretty impressive for 320,000 miles, however, the cam bearings are shot. That would explain the low oil pressure at idle.






Dropped the block and heads off at the machine shop for cleaning and inspection. The cylinders did have a pretty deep ridge on them, so I'm sure I'll have to have it bored out.

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post #4 of 8 Old 05-22-2020, 12:14 PM
JoonHoss
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Very cool; look forward to following along!



Hoss
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-22-2020, 07:01 PM
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Interesting back story on that jeep. Looks good so far.
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-22-2020, 08:03 PM
DV915
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Great history with this CJ!
Iím curious, my 76 is also Firecracker Red and originally a V8 with an automatic tranny, so our Jeeps are almost identical. White interior and top on mine. The build date on my VIN sticker is August 1975 and the build number is 4762.
Is your build date and number anywhere close?
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post #7 of 8 Old 05-22-2020, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DV915 View Post
Great history with this CJ!
Iím curious, my 76 is also Firecracker Red and originally a V8 with an automatic tranny, so our Jeeps are almost identical. White interior and top on mine. The build date on my VIN sticker is August 1975 and the build number is 4762.
Is your build date and number anywhere close?

My build date is much later than yours I think. The vin tag on the dash is mostly legible, except for the date. If I look at it on an angle with certain light, I can kind of make out April 1976.



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post #8 of 8 Old 05-22-2020, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Stripped down the doors today to bare shells. For the longest time I remember the fixed vent window seals not being available, all that has been available is the seal for movable vent windows. Trying to take the fixed windows out without destroying the 45 year old seals was proving to be difficult. Getting frustrated with it, I decided to take a break and search the forum to see if anyone has found replacements yet. All I found were older threads complaining that they weren't available. So I did some searching, low and behold Fairchild makes the seals now, and they are available on Rock Auto. The Fairchild part numbers are D4163 and D4162.






I ordered them immediately, and began tearing out the old, brittle seal to get the fixed windows out. Probably should have waited until I actually had them in my hand, but oh well. Now I can get the cracks in the doors fixed.







With the Jeep pretty much all torn down to nothing, I'm going to spend the weekend organizing and cleaning the garage. The engine dissasembly left a mess on my garage floor, and I can't stand working in a cluttered mess. Things will go a lot more smoothly for me if I have an organized work area for reassembly.
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