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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all, it’s been a while since I posted anything here and I’ve returned with bad news. My Jeep was destroyed in a rollover accident. I got out relatively unscathed. In fact, I’m incredibly lucky to be alive right now. Here’s a link with more details:


Honestly guys, I’m heartbroken. This old Jeep meant a lot to me. When I first got it, it barely ran. It had no brakes, the electrical system was a birds nest. My friends in high school nicknamed it “The Death Machine”. I spent years turning wrenches on it, and after over a decade of consistent improvement I had a damn good CJ5! The whole drivetrain was rebuilt in 2016. The whole thing was rewired, it had a nice suspension lift with 33” BFGs. I have a Warn 8274 winch on the front, a York engine-driven air compressor, and a Premier Power Welder. I’ve taken this Jeep down muddy roads in Indiana, the foothills of Tennessee, cold creek beds in Kentucky, the Ozarks of Missouri, the beaches of North Carolina, and other places all across the Midwest. This thing has taken me on the wildest adventures I’ve ever been on, to places I’ve never seen before. When a buddy was stuck in the middle of nowhere, they called on my Jeep to extract them. I LOVED this Jeep!

Right now it’s sitting in my carport waiting for the insurance adjuster to inspect. My plan from here is to salvage whatever usable parts survived, and rebuild another “new” 1975 CJ5. I just hope I can get enough money to return it to its former glory.

I suppose we need to start with a frame…
I have to tools and knowledge to build my own frame. I’d like to make a custom frame out of rectangular tube. I think this will help solve the flex problems of the CJ frames. Does anybody here have dimensions for an intermediate CJ5 frame? The current frame is buckled so badly I cannot pull any reliable measurements from it.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think that's more than a rollover. Glad you came out of it (OK)?
I don’t personally remember how it rolled, but I remember it was horrifying. An eyewitness said the Jeep went end over end, looking at the way the hood is pushed up to the windshield I can believe it. I was doing about 50 mph when it left the highway. The seatbelt broke my collarbone in multiple places, I had a surgery last week to repair it. I consider myself extremely lucky, a broken collar bone is very mild compared to what could have happened. I’ll never take seatbelts for granted again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A friend of mine owns a local scrapyard. He has a hilltop overlooking a highway where he puts interesting looking vehicles. He wants to put the frame and body up there with a “buckle up” sign. I know there’s not much here that can be saved, but I’m going to pull drivetrain out just to see if there’s internal damage. Everything from the engine to the transfer case only had about 9000 miles on the rebuild. And all the small, expensive, or hard to find parts that I know are ok. Like the Warn hubs, seat brackets, fuel tank, gauges, steering column, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow, congrats on surviving that crash.

I had a kid driving an Explorer pull out in front of me in my 1998 TA when I was going about 60-65 back in 2007. It was the hardest impact I have ever experienced.

It nearly killed my youngest kid, Nick. Seatbelt tore his abdomen and required life saving surgery. I broke my shoulder & suffered a torn PCL.

Seat belts work, but the do some damage as well. I think the airbags helped the most.

I’d be parting that Jeep, and looking for a replacement. Not much still usable on it now, other than small parts.

That’s what I did with my TA, after I bought it back from the insurance company. I got some good parts off of it. I still have the LS1 & 460LE, wheels & tires.

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That’s terrible, I’m glad you and your son survived! Going 0-60 fast is fun but 60-0 is kinda rough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@robblue80
I was driving home from work and a little old lady tried to cross the highway in a white Buick. She had a stop sign, and she came to a full stop, but at the last second she accelerated through the intersection right in front of me. I swerved to avoid a complete t-bone, but the front of her car impacted my drivers side rocker panel as I passed by. This is what sent me off the road (and I think this is when the drivers rear wheel broke away). You can see how little damage her car took. The Jeep kinda glanced across the front of it. Here’s some pics of the scene.

The lady was 89 years old, and I know she didn’t mean it. She probably couldn’t see me coming. I’m very glad I swerved, a direct t-bone probably would have killed her (and maybe me). She was ok. As the ambulance was loading me up, the EMS crew told me she got out of her car with a walker 😂
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm glad that you are "okay". Two things I find amazing.
1. You survived.
2. That sports bar held up and stayed on the tub. I wouldn't re-use it, but it still look straight. With the way the rest of the Jeep looks, I would have expected it to either be bent or completely torn off.

I'd strip it for all of the usable pieces (tailgate and windshield hinges, seat brackets, wiper motor, mechanisms and cover, etc...). Anything from that vintage and was still usable I would save.
I’m equally surprised at the performance of the sports bar. Something that the previous owner did was weld 1/8” steel plate to the top of each wheelhouse and then bolted the sports bar to that. The PO did some other sketchy work, but that particular modification seemed like it held up perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
After looking over the pictures more, it’s nice to see your Ax, Jerry Can & Fire Extinguisher stayed attached and in place. You must have done a good job of mounting that stuff.

So, just to be clear, you were held in your seat by the seat belt for the entire ride? That is freaking crazy, after looking at the divots in the grass, seeing how far you rolled & tumbled

I have thought about what would happen if I ever ran off the road like that in my CJ-7. All of the roads in my neck of the woods have huge ditches, between the road and the farm fields. Seeing your Jeep tells me what I always suspected…it could get ugly.

I am truly amazed that you walked away from that accident.
I stayed in the drivers seat the entire time. This Jeep had a removable passenger seat, which was thrown from the vehicle. An eyewitness said when the passenger seat went flying they thought it was a person being ejected. He approached the crash and began searching and was surprised to see me still behind the wheel. I got out without assistance and felt fine for a couple minutes, but after the adrenaline wore off I began to feel it.

Things can go bad very quickly. It’s terrible to hear about that teen who got his skull crushed. I’ve had people stand up in my Jeep like that before also. Even if you’re the safest driver on Earth, you’re only half the equation.

also I’m really happy about the mounting job of all my gear, I didn’t lose anything off the sides!
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Wow.. you obviously have a guardian angel assigned to you or maybe one was hitching a ride. Congratulations on making out alive.
I have a 1975 CJ5 if you really want to start over!.. some days I could easily be persuaded to part with it! lol
Your driver's seat frame /bracket the original? If so would you want to part with it? And I do need the dash mounted grab handle, tool box lid and to replace my fuel tank and sending unit... just asking ;)

I just notice the MCAS New River base sticker but Indiana license plate.. thank you(?) for your service. I'd been to New River many times during my 20 years in the Navy and my father is a retired Master Gunnery Sargent that still lives in the Jacksonville area.
The fuel tank and drivers seat frame survived fairly well, though I might have to straighten them out slightly. I’ll probably be using them on the next Jeep, we’ll see in a few months. I might have a grab handle and/or toolbox lid. Later down the road I’ll try to get back to you if I have parts I didn’t use.

I almost forgot about that New River sticker. I’m sad the windshield is broken, I’m going to lose that little memento of my time in the Marines. I joined in 2013 and worked at MCAS New River until 2016, later went Embassy Duty and EAS’ed in 2019. During my time at New River I hired a company to ship my Jeep to North Carolina. I had a makeshift garage in a 10’x20’ storage unit at A1 Storage in Jacksonville. It made me a popular guy in the unit, other Marines would stop by for oil changes and stuff 😂. Here’s some throwback pics of the storage unit “garage” circa 2016. In these pics I just rebuilt the engine and transfer case, and swapped in a 4 speed RTS transmission from Herm the Overdrive Guy.
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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
The previous owner used signposts to support the tub. These supports were tack welded to the underside of the floor pans. Every single one of those tack welds broke. Overall, there were only 3 body mounts still holding the body to the frame. I used a sawzall to remove them.
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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
The forensic work continues….
The front of the intermediate frames were boxed. This was done to prevent cracking under the torque of the engine. Something worth noting is how straight the frame is until the boxed part ends. It clearly bent where it was weakest.
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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
The rear section of the frame suffered the most. The rear axle was completely disconnected on the drivers side, and this seemed to twist the passenger side spring mount to the point of nearly ripping the frame in half.
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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Strong points….
The fuel tank area is surprisingly square. This is probably due to the bumper I built for it. This thing is as straight as the day I installed it!

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Check this out, the difference in engine mounts is fascinating! To the left is a stock rubber mount, and the right is an aftermarket polyurethane mount. The rubber mount ripped clean in half, while the poly mount failed at the steel. The poly mount even bent the frame mount below before letting loose. This impressed me!
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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
To the OP. I'm pretty sure I posted frame dimensions of the intermediate CJ5 on EarlyCJ5.com. Look for user name Khamill. I bet "timgr" knows where they are if they still exist.
I searched EarlyCJ5.com and think I found your post linking the frame dimensions. The link is no longer active, do you remember where you found that info?
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
I’m glad the rear bumper isn’t bent. I worked really hard on this thing, it was my first major fabricating project. I used the Premier Power Welder on the Jeep to make it. You can see the frame tie-in’s I made also.
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