ongoing project started in October of 2000. The idea behind this project
is to build a well equipped CJ-7 from the frame up, paying attention to every system
while being ever so mindful of the limited budget. Being on a limited
budget helps force one to think of creative ways to re-design things and be
resourceful. For my project most parts were acquired through some means of bartering or
bargaining which included several trips to swap meets. Keep in mind as you
read this project that this Jeep never started out as a whole Jeep. It
wasn't a "frame off" restoration. It started as parts from all over and
from many vehicles, some not even Jeep parts. The first part I bought was
a Jeep tub, followed by a CJ-7 frame.
From there I just kept finding and buying the parts I wanted to use. Many parts like the Centerforce II clutch and the T-18A rebuild kit
as well as seats, Bestop softtop, 3 core radiator, engine parts for the tune up,
drive shafts were
purchased new but items like the AMC 360, T-18 Transmission, Dana 44 axles were
all bought piece by piece as came across lucky finds at bargain prices.
Eventually this Jeep hit the trails and plays hard. The main part of
this project took about 2 1/2 years in my spare time. After I began, it
soon became evident of the scope of the project I was undertaking.
However I'm not one to cut corners and I like to plan things out down to the
details so attention is paid to everything as things progressed. To this
day its still a work in progress. With the help of a digital camera,
project details in most cases eventually followed behind work done especially
the custom projects. Updates to documenting the project are sometime a
bit behind the actual project's progress. This page is the main index of
each area of work as it is documented.
REMEMBER: I'm not an expert! I'm an average backyard
mechanic. These pages are not meant to replace the manufacturer's
instructions or be taken as a how-to, rather these pages are just my account
of the project for your amusement only (just like the rest of the website).
You might find a few tips in here and and maybe even a few blunders. If
you choose to engage in these activities or undertake any project, it is by
your own free will and at your own volition. I assume no liability for how any
particular individual chooses to use the information presented in the pages of
this project. With that out of the way ... Enjoy!
On the trails! The Jeep is
for the most part, complete other than the upgrades to come. Inspected, road
tested and now trail tested. Performance on the trails was excellent. It's been
a great trail vehicle thus far!
Over the years I have been asked by people who are going to undertake a
rebuild of a Jeep, what I might suggest to help get the project done. For
anyone undertaking a backyard mechanic I always suggest getting a few things if
you don't already have them. Get a good quality 4 1/2" angle grinder. Get plenty
of quality 1/16" cutting wheels for steel as well as some other steel cutting
wheels. Get an in-expensive MIG Welder that feeds the welding wire and get flux
shielded wire (or you can get a gas shielded model but flux core wire is cheap
and convenient). Then learn to weld safely and effectively. I found welding
relatively easy once I got the knack. I talked to a friend I have who is a
well experience welder and I asked him what makes a good weld. He gave me
some tips that I found quite useful. So it's good to talk to an expert if
you are learning to weld. Welding tutorial books can be very helpful too.
You just have to do it safely if you do it at all. Another tool that comes
in handy is a free standing drill press. A couple of good variable speed
hand drills, one that is built for speed with a 3/8" chuck and another that is
built for torque with a larger chuck for those big holes. A quality socket
set with plenty of sizes in metric and standard. Also a good variation of
wrenches on both standard and metric. Obviously the more hand tools you
have the better. These tools were the most useful tools I had in the
garage to get many custom jobs done myself.
Always be very aware of sparks in the garage and flammable things laying
around. It's always better to weld and cut outside if possible.
Don't burn your garage down and your project with it. ALWAYS have a few
decent size fire extinguishers in strategic places in your work area. Make
sure they are rated to cover types of potential fires that may occur. It's
even a good idea to have a smoke detector in the garage just in case you have a
smoldering spark somewhere. Especially if your garage is attached to your
home as mine is. I removed the beeper out of smoke detector and ran a wire
into the house to put the beeper where I could hear it.
Another tip is to find
a local metal shop. Talk to them. Ask them if they have a scrap dumpster
and tell them you are working on a project and you may occasionally need small,
various sized pieces of steel. Ask them if you could look in their scrap
dumpster occasionally. If that's not an option just ask about buying
various pieces of steel for your repairs. Don't get too picky about
getting the steel cut to the right length or drilled out or whatever.
Their time is money and if you are a pain in their backside, they'll be much
less helpful or tolerant of someone asking for free or cheap steel. But
generally speaking steel is cheap for small stuff. Scrap can be free.
I have a friend who owns a welding shop and they fabricate lots of stuff.
I'd occasionally look through the scrap dumpster, even grabbing odd shape stuff
that I didn't have a use for at the moment but ultimately I might. Many times I
did. You'd get a knack for that if you think about it.
Another suggestion is to have a digital camera on hand and take lots of
pictures. There were times I needed to go back and refer to the pictures because
I forgot how something went back together or whatever and pictures were great to
I always have plenty of spray paint and primer on hand and several extra cans
of Rustoleum gloss black, which I use a lot. I also have a small,
refillable can of mineral spirits (paint thinner) handy to clean parts, prep the
surface for paint, whatever. I keep the bulk container out in the shed.
I also have plenty of sand paper in various grades handy. I have small
bins of various sizes of grade 8 hardware, nuts bolts and washers, which I
bought at one of those supply stores (TSC is great!) that sell it by the
pound, not by the piece. I'd stop there occasionally to re-stock. I
have bins of misc stuff that I couldn't bring myself to throw away, which I look
though frequently for that thingamabobber I need. I have several tubes of
silicone sealant on hand in clear and white, which I use alot. I
keep that right next to the shelf that has all of the various liquids and strays
like the rust buster PB Blaster which is great stuff.
I found an old inner
tube out of a truck that I saved. I have used the rubber of this inner
tube for all kinds of things from seals to rubber buffers between fenders and
body as well as a buffer against the rocker panel guards. The rubber is
strong and can be cut with scissors. Very useful.
Everyone has their
list of garage tips and these were a few of mine. I'm sure there are
plenty of things I forgot to mention.