Venting a bit, celebrating a little, and still scratching my head
Sorry, but this is going to be a long post 😁
I purchased a '74 Jeep CJ-5 back in March from a guy in Vegas. Its an inline 6 with a 4 speed.
- New tires, shocks, fuel pump, water pump and radiator.
- According to the PO, it has a new coil, plugs wires and points.
- No rust. Paint in pretty good condition for its age. The tub also in pretty good condition; it has a few patches....
--the air box (so rain would get into the tub)
--washer setup (no tank, pump or squiter)
--charcoal canaster (the vent lines were cut and hanging behind the rear left tire)
-- reverse lights (just two holes where the lights should be)
-- wiper blades (someone also ran the wipers without blades, BC there was a lot of scoring on the windshield, which had to be replaced)
- The tail lights were useless. Someone replace the stock tail lights with recessed trailer lights (they did a lot of damage to the body getting these things in). No brake lights and only one tail light was working.
- The wiring was toast. When I removed the dashboard, there were wires that were chopped out, melted and spliced. Even with the shop manual I had a difficult time making any sense of the mess, so we decided to rip it all out and rewire everything. It wasn't bad, except for the fact that the wiring kit didn't include anything for the reverse lights (I'd be hard pressed to find a vehicle that doesn'tcome with reverse lights). I used the wire for the 3rd brake light instead, since they didn't have those in 1974.
- The carburetor was leaking out the front (a lot). The numbers on the front of the carb didn't seem to jibe with what the online catalogs were saying. I ordered a carb off of Amazon (mostly because they'd take it back if I got it wrong). There was only a couple of differences, the biggest being the throttle linkage; I had to do a little creative fabrication, but it worked out well.
- The VIN says its a 258, but I ran the numbers on the block and it is a 232 (I think between 1976 and 1981 - not sure, but that might explain the different carb). Not a big deal, except I question thing like what is the correct timing? I put a timing light on it and it was 4 before TDC. I read somewhere to use a vacuum gague and set the timing based off of the manifold vacuum. This worked out very well; seems to run much better. I also moved the vacuum advance from ported vacuum to manifold vacuum.
- The alternator wasn't charging at idle. I understand that this is a common problem, especially with the 74s. I replaced it with a 104 amp GM alternator with an internal regulator. It was almost a direct replacement; I did have to grind the casing a bit so it would fit properly in the bracket. I was able to rip out the old external regulator, and I did add a ballast resistor. No more charging problems.
- The reverse light switch was a bit if a problem. Once I added reverse lights (they were missing), the reverse lights weren't working. Without going into the troubleshooting details, we found that the problem was the switch. I bought a new switch from Napa, but when I took the old switch out it was completely different; it has a 'AA battery' sized plunger on the switch which disappears into the transmission (the top looed similar). The guy at Napa was completely stumped. My son found a post where someone had the same problem... he rebuilt his, but I knew that I'd be wasting my time trying to do that, so I opted for a cheaper, low tech solution. I put a mini button at the base of the stick so the button is pressed when I put the Jeep into reverse. It wasn't pretty, but it worked. I added an extra large shifter boot to hide the button.
- The nipples were busted off of the liquid check valve (which explains why the vent lines were just hanging)
- The fuel hoses (filler and vent hose) were leaking
- The wiper motor worked, but didn't have enough torque to move the blades when they were on the windshield. It turns out that the rods were worn out. I bought the replacenent upgrade from a guy on ebay. Another problem solved...
Other things we did:
- The steering wheel was in a bad spot. I'm not a big fat guy (6'2" @ 215 lbs); it was pretty tight for me to get in and out. My son is pretty big... he would have no chance unless he dropped 100 lbs. I did a custom tilt roadster steering column from Flaming River (those guys were great!). I used an aftermarket 17" steering wheel with a Grant horn kit.
- We added black diamond plate corners, rockers and dashboard
- We added all new gauges (the big speedometer that it came with was junk)
- We added three micro buttons to the dash that makes machine gun, laser and missile sounds (yea, I did that because I am just a big kid)
- We added wheel flares (because the tires stick out too far, so it won't pass Pennsylvania inspection without them)
- Repainted the tub with bed liner paint
- much paint touch ups (probably should have painted the entire Jeep)
**** Still needs to be done ****
- The Jeep pulls to the left when I hit the brake (so most likely a bad wheel cylinder)
- The steering is very mushy. My first inclination is that my tie rods are shot, but I need tosee if the axle geometry is correct).
- I will probably add a sway bar kit
- I will probably convert the front drum brakes to disc.
So far its been a lot of work, but we have enjoyed the project. My son has learned a lot about cars in a short amount of time. Thanks to anyone who answered questions and/or offered advise. Since it's not inspected yet (so not legal to be on the road), I've only had it around the neighborhood, but I still collected four waves 👋😀