CJ-7 Projects


Lightforce Lights - H.I.D. High-intensity discharge Upgrade

HEI Ignition System (GM Style) Installed in the AMC 360 V8
Getting rid of gremlins and improving performance

Installing 23,000 Volt Offroad Lights

Autogage Tachometer Installation

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 Centralia PA
Project CJ-7
Offroaders Guide
to Gearing up
for Offroad

From Basic Equipment to Well Equipped.  An extensive list guide to help you prepare your vehicle for the offroad.


Onboard Air
Converting a York
AC Compressor
to Pump Air

Trailering Safety and Trailer Hitch Information


Off-Road Truck Driving Techniques and Safety

Off-Road Lights
by LightForce Product Review / Installation.
from Off-Road Lights


Jeep Dana 300 TeraLow - 4:1 Gearset for the Dana 300 Transfer Case

AMC V8 Engines
GEN-1 Nash/Hudson/Rambler V-8s (1956-1966) through to the GEN-3 AMC Tall-deck (1970-1991)

Chevy Small-Block V8 Engines
Chevy Small-Block V8 Engines Manufactured by General Motors - Production: 1955?2002

Hemi Engine - All about the Hemi Engine

Ford Engines
4 Cylinder, 6 Cylinder, 8 Cylinder, 10 Cylinder, 12 Cylinder Ford Engines

Ford V8 Engines
8 Cylinder Engines manufactured by Ford

Ford 351 Cleveland V8 Engines
351 cubic inch V8 Engines manufactured by Ford

Chrysler Hemi Engine

AMC V8 hp/Torque, Compression & Bore/Stroke by year

Engine Size Conversion Table
Converting engine displacement from CID, Liters, C.C.

Engine Overheating Basics - 16 Common Causes of an Overheated Engine

Fan Clutch Diagnosis
How to tell if the Fan Clutch in your Cooling System is failing or has failed.

Automotive Gauges & Instrument Functions
Information they display & their importance.


From the
Department of Cheap   Tricks and Useful Tips

Ultra-Cool Hand Throttle for Free!

Jeep V8 Swap Tips

The Exploding Clutch

Radiator Protection using 6 bucks worth of material

Cracked Under Pressure - Fixing a smashed fingernail

A Cheap, effective alternative to undercoating

Home-built Saginaw Gearbox Brace for the cost of lunch!

Ammo Box Storage - Mounting Them for Quick Disconnect

Home-built Serious Skid-Plate protection for the Oil Pan for under 20 bucks!

Ramp Travel Index
RTI / Ramp Travel Index  What it is and how to calculate it, with and without the ramp.




Jeep CJ-7

A frame up Restoration &
Buildup of a Classic 1978 Jeep CJ-7

The budget Rebuild by Ralph Hassel
Contact me here:


The Jeep Project Index

A few Project / Garage Tips

This 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!

Ralph Hassel Offroaders.com 



So what's the project
status now?

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!

Latest trips Offroad
trail reports with the Project CJ-7,
click here.

HEI Ignition System (GM Style) Installed in the AMC 360 V8
Getting rid of gremlins and improving performance

Sounds System, Raised the Rear Seat
Storage below and a great place to mount 6x9 Speakers for Great Bass ... In a Jeep!

York AC Compressor Conversion.  What used to pump Freon, now pumps compressed air to the front and rear bumpers.  125 psi,  2 gallons of storage, air fittings at the bumpers, enough CFM to power air tools!.  Click Here for more  Details

 Stay Tuned!

Dana 44 Axle Swap - Out Rigging the Frame

Suspension System

Steering System

Custom CJ-7 Skid Plates and Protection

Manual Transmission - T-18A - Cast Iron w/ 6.32:1 1st Gear

Transfer Case - Dana 20

Body Work

The Frame

Engine - AMC 360 

Offroad Lights

CJ-7 Wiring Diagrams - Electrical Related Info


Storage, Storage Storage

Custom Bumpers

Cool Modifications


tub-1.jpg (23287 bytes) The Tub



Ignore the squealing fan belt. That got the wrench a few minutes later.



Credits - Credit where Credit is Due

| ,[‗‗‗‗],
()_) ()_)—o—)_)

A few Project / Garage Tips:

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 have.

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.   -RH, Project CJ-7








Offroad Tire Info
Tire Terminology
Wheel Terminology
How to Pick the Right
Tires for your Truck
Truck Tire Info
Tires - What Hits What Fits
All Terrain  Mud Terrain
Tire Reviews & Info
Mud Terrain MT Tire Reviews
All Terrain AT Tire Reviews
Super Swamper Bogger
Super Swamper SSR
Super Swamper SX
Super Swamper Vortrac
Interco IROK TSL
Super Swamper LTB
Super Swamper TSL
Super Swamper TSL Radial
Super Swamper Narrow
Interco SS-M16 Swamper
Thornbird TSl Radial
Thornbird TSl Bias
Thornbird TSL
Parnelli Jone Dirt Grip
BFGoodrich Krawler
BFGoodrich MT T/A KM
BFGoodrich MT T/A KM2
BFGoodrich AT TA KO
BFGoodrich Mud King XT
Bridgestone Dueler MT
Cooper Discoverer ST
Cooper Discoverer STT
Cooper Discoverer ST/C
Firestone Destination MT
General Grabber MT
General Grabber AT2
Green Diamond Icelander
Ground Hawg Mud Tire
Hankook Dynapro MT
Hankook Dynamic MT RT01
Hercules Terra Trac MT
Hercules Trail Digger MT
Kelly-Springfield Safari DTR
Kelly-Springfield Safari MSR
Kumho Road Venture MT
Kumho Road Venture KL71
Kumho Road Venture AT
Dick Cepek Mud Country
Dick Cepek F-C II
Dick Cepek Fun Country II
Dick Cepek Fun Country Nylon
Dick Cepek Fun Country Kevlar
Mastercraft Courser MT
Mastercraft Courser HTR
Mastercraft Courser HTR Plus
Maxxis BigHorn Radial
Maxxis Creepy Crawler
Maxxis Trepador
Maxxis Buckshot Mudder
Maxxis MA-SW
Maxxis M-8080 Mudzilla
Maxxis MT-754 Buckshot
Maxxis MT-753 Bravo
Maxxis MA-751 Bravo
Maxxis MA-S2 Marauder II
Maxxis MA-S1 Marauder
Maxxis MT-762 BigHorn
Nitto Mud Grappler
Nitto Dune Grappler
Nokian Vatiiva MT
Pit Bull Rocker Extreme
Pit Bull Maddog
Pit Bull Growler
Goodyear Wrangler MT/R
Pro Comp Xterrain
Pro Comp All Terrain
Pro Comp Mud Terrain
Pro Comp Xtreme AT
Pro Comp Xtreme MT
Toyo Open Country MT
TrXus Mud Terrain
TrXus STS All Terrain
Mickey Thompson MTZ
Mickey Thompson MTX
Mickey Thompson Baja Claw
Mickey Thompson Baja Crusher
Competition Claw
Dunlop Mud Rover
Yokohama Geolandar

Latest trips Offroad
... trail reports with the Project CJ-7
click here.

Sounds System, Raised the Rear Seat
Storage below and a great place to mount 6x9 Speakers for Great Bass ... In a Jeep!

York AC Compressor Conversion.  What used to pump Freon, now pumps compressed air to the front and rear bumpers.  125 psi,  2 gallons of storage, air fittings at the bumpers, enough CFM to power air tools!.  Click Here for more  Details


Dick Cepek's 2008 F-250 Super Duty Project Vehicle ? Project CRUSHER

Warn X8000i
Winch Installation

ARB Air Locker Install
Jeep Wide Track Axles Swap

Mud Tire Reviews

Building a Garage?
Need a Garage Plan?

Reader's Rigs and Seriously Stucks!


Jeep Trans Swap Info
T-18A Transmission Rebuild & Short Shaft Conversion