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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-26-2002, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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Info on my Jeep Project

I have posted a few times and mentioned my Jeep project and I thought I should post an outline of the project so you will all know what Im up to.

First a little information about me. I was an auto technician for 15 years but due to a back injury requiring surgery I had to make a career change and am going to college for PC/LAN. I bought my first Jeep at 18 and fixed it up over the years have been hooked ever since. I still own that Jeep but after a body/frame rust out and finding a used frame but no $ for body it was made into a swamp buggy when I lived in Naples Florida. (Ill post pics sometime) Ive also built a VW rail buggy and a few other cars and trucks. Since moving back to Minnesota I always longed for another Jeep. About a month ago my wish came true when a buddy of mine gave me a Jeep for doing some work on his other one. So now me and my son have a project.

Its nothing fancy it was basically a rust bucket with fenders hanging off any everything. It already has had the 55 gal drum of bondo put all over it. Its an 81 CJ-7 with the GM 151, 4 speed, D-300, D-30, AMC-20 according to the axle code it has 4:11s. It will end up being strictly a trail vehicle and not see highway use. With me not working this is going to be a low budget project so nothing shinny or fancy if it doesnt help off road performance I dont need it. Did I forget to say I have the world greatest wife because she is working 2 jobs and gave me the go ahead on this project and she hates 4-wheeling.The goals of this project are as follows:
1. Extremely low budget $1000 - $1500
2. Build a unique trail worthy, dependable, strictly business, off road only vehicle
3. Will be locked F&R and have 31x15.50x15 Terra tires
4. Will have family roll cage
5. Hand build as much as possible
6. Reuse as much of old body as possible to keep the Jeep look

After taking a sawzall to the body all that I will reuse or is reusable is the grill, hood, windshield frame (already fiberglass), The front fenders will be repaired and given the flat look, the firewall and the trans tunnel will be repaired and also reused but from the firewall back will be all custom. More on the body when I get to that point.

As you probably already guessed the frame is rusted out in the usual spots (rear spring front mounts, rear 15” of frame) but is being repaired. I want some lift but because of budget a lift kit is out so my solution is to drop all the spring mounts 3 inches, yes a SOA would be cheap too but I didnt want the wrap up troubles and with the frame needing repair anyway I decided to go the drop route. The front mounts are done and I also had to make my own steering box mounts and I also made my own double tubular brace that tie into the pass. side frame from the 2 extra bosses on the box. The back of the frame was cut off and replaced with 3/16 tubing the bad spots by the rear spring mounts was cut out and replaced with 3/16 plate then the 3” tubing for the lift over the top of that. The rear half of frame from 1 foot in front of the rear spring front mount to the back will be boxed with 3/16 plate but the inside will have plate run to the motor mounts. The rear of the frame was also lengthened 6 inches to make more storage space behind the back seat. The rear part of the frame is about half done at this point.

To date with 2 trips to the scrape yard for steel the total cost is $32.68 and I should have enough to almost finish the frame. I will post some pics when I get them developed and I will keep posting updates as I progress. Any and all questions, comments and suggestions are welcome.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 10-26-2002, 08:56 AM
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Re: Info on my Jeep Project

I like cheap projects!

whats your budget plans for the front and rear lockers?

When I first started on my own CJ project I had seriously considered the dropped spring mounts.
with 31 inch tires, you could probably get by with a 1 inch body and shackle lift couldnt you?

but I guess its cheaper to fab the spring mounts
keep us updated!
and take alot of pictures, both for us to see, and for you and your son to remember!

here is one taken about 2 weeks after I brought my CJ home, I guess, 1999 or so, right before I pulled the dieing 304/T150 out.

Now the 2 year old in the pic is 5, and he likes to help me weld stuff up, and he gets to wire brush parts, and use the air tools ( with a wire brish or scotchbrite pad) he helps spray rustoleum as needed also, lots of fun that He and I will always remember.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 10-26-2002, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Info on my Jeep Project

As far as the lockers go Ill do the lincoln locker in the rear and a powertrax or lockright in the front. I thought about Lincolns in both but figured for turning in tight trails I better go with something that will give.

Well with 31s I could probally fit them with just the trimming I already did on the front and just make room in the rear when I build it. The biggest reason I did it is for ground clearance a body lift makes room for tires but does nothing to help clearance except for what bigger tires
give you. Back in Aug. I went to Dresser for the club weekend with a buddy. He has a CJ5 with 32s and just shackles and we had trouble in a couple tight spots on logs and in thoses ruts made by those guys running 44s so I figured 3 inches will help that.

My son was 2 when I built the swamp buggy and he loved to help me and enjoyed riding even more. He is 10 now and can't wait to go out in the new Jeep.As soon as I can find the pics of the swamp buggy I'll post them but here is one of my first Jeep before it rusted out and was turned into a buggy.

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 10-26-2002, 07:14 PM
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Re: Info on my Jeep Project

IF your going to weld up the rear you better find you some one piece shafts for that rear AMC 20, if you don't allready have them. When I put a 360 in my scrambler, the people on this board told my what wouldn't hold up and everything they told me has gave up and has been replaced.The one thing that I did do before the motor swap was change the shafts before locking up the rear. Glad I did!! Didn't want to see my will roll by on the trail. [img]images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 10-27-2002, 09:42 PM
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Re: Info on my Jeep Project

I love the sound of this project. An idea i just had for your project if you havn't figured out a way around 1 pieces you might be able to find a scout d44 with factory 4.10's in a junk yard up by you for something like $50.

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