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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2003, 12:01 AM
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CJ-3A, Can/Should I Attempt a Restoration?

Howdy Folks,

My family acquired a CJ-3A about 3 years ago. It's been very badly neglected, I don't think there's one part on the entire vehicle that hasn't been kissed by extreme amounts of rust. And I believe the engine is seized. I have a fairly large budget to work with. However, I don't have too much experience with this kind of work. Seeing as I need something to keep me busy, I'm seriously considering taking-on this project. Of course, I'll have to seek professional help when I run into something I just can't handle. Basically, I would like to do a complete restoration and keep the thing entirely stock.

So, I guess what I need to know is:

Should I attempt such a project?

If you believe I should, how should I go about it? Is there anyone in the community that has attempted such a restoration and can supply me with the names of companies that can sell me parts AND/OR would be able to give me some pictures taken along their road to restoration.

Thanks for the information,
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2003, 12:55 AM
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Re: CJ-3A, Can/Should I Attempt a Restoration?

As sad as it is to say, some Jeeps just aren't worth saving. Rust is a major opponent to fight and one that usually wins. Being a New York vehicle which has seen some nasty weather I'll assume its as bad as you say it is. If the frame is rusted through in any place then its probly not worth saving. If the body is rusted through its not worth saving. If the engine is seized its not worth saving. So whats left?

If I were you I'd take that nice budget you have and find something that is worth saving. There are a lot of Jeeps out there that might look bad but are still strong work horses. This doesn't sound like one of them. If the grill isn't too badly gone on what you've got I'd pull it, turn it into a wall decoration and try to sell anything that might be good as parts.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2003, 06:53 AM
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Re: CJ-3A, Can/Should I Attempt a Restoration?

Nick is right. If every part you look at needs to be replaced or extensively repaired, what you really have is a parts source for the Jeep you restore.

To fix rust you must cut out the damaged area all the way to virgin metal. Then cut and fit a new piece and weld it in. You have to work with big areas, several times as big as a rust hole. If two areas are close to meeting, join them into one big patch.

If you look at the frame and body in that light and see that you'll be replacing a significant percentage, it's telling you to replace the whole thing.

Unless your CJ has historic or sentimental value, look for one that's in better shape. There are probably a lot of good ones still buried and forgotten in the back of barns. Probably some in the Southwest, too. Patience and persistence.

Be especially wary of one that's been recently restored. The restoration could consist of spreading Bondo over the damage and giving it a nice paint job. That's good for about six months.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2003, 06:09 PM
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Re: CJ-3A, Can/Should I Attempt a Restoration?

Thanks for the replies, gentlemen. I guess I'll turn my ambitions toward my '85 CJ-7...
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