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Old 08-26-2010, 10:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Project: Daily Driver Tug

I have had this CJ-10a for about a year now, and I have been tinkering with it here and there. It is a neat platform, and you do not see too many of them on the road.

My 10, in particular, lead a rough life between the Air Force, PO's and me. It has 51,000 miles and 8,500 hours. Sure, the miles are low, but the hours are pretty damn high. That works out to an average of 6 mph, which makes sense because of its low speed nature. Now if it was a regular truck, averaging 50 MPH, it would have 400,000plus miles on it.

I cleaned up the motor, and spent a lot of time with it. I primed and primed, wore out the glow plugs, and finally wiffed in some ether, and got it running. Even with it primed, in 80 degree weather, it needs 20+ seconds of glowplug and 10+ seconds of cranking before it gets into a half assed 3 cyl run, then it usually clears out... sometime.

Parts for the SD-33 are a pain to find, and my water pump is leaking anyways, and the starter is a little weak, and it needs glow plugs... that would be adding at least 700 bucks to the motor that has no aftermarket support, very little domestic support, and has very few transmission options. So far, the TF727 seems OK, but I hate automatics.

So, the plan is to find a more supported Diesel motor and manual transmission to swap into this pig. I want reliability and simplicity, just like the original motor

GM 6.2, 6.5 series motors are doggy. I think they would be OK in a light CJ-10a, but I really don't want to mess with them.

D-max is way to electronic, and I just do not want to mess with that either. That also throws out Power Strokes, and 24v+ cummins.

The Isuzu 4bd series motors are very nice, and I imagine you can find parts in many places because there are so many of those little box trucks on the road. They also seem very reliable, but its just not my thing.

That leaves the Cummins.

Yes, I am looking and pricing Cummins. I actually think the 6bt will be a better fit so I do not have to mess with the exhaust downpipe issues inherent to 4bt swaps. But I would be happy with either solution. A 6bt will fit without the intercooler, so I might move the rad to the rear and use an intercooler in front, or I might aftercool it with a manifold heat exchanger.

But that is a ways down the road. I have a lot of work to start on before I even get the motor.
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This is about what it looked like when I got it.




It had been sitting for a year+, but it looked to be in pretty good shape. It had the 10b axles swapped under it, and a shortened rear driveshaft from a Chevy truck, I guess. It had a D300 swapped in, and twin sticks.

A little bit of an ugly duckling, but a good start
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The axle/wheel combo was hideous, so it had to go. I got a 10b/14b combo from a 83 pickup and stabbed it in. I was working outside at the time, and I wanted it to look somewhat decent for the neighbors.

And it needed bigger tires. In keeping with a military theme, H1's were a logical choice. A local in NC had some cheap takeoff 12b rim/tire combos, so I picked them up.

I also got a 10b with flat tops, 4.88s (stock ratio for the 10a, and I had no intention of changing the motor at the time) and a full carrier detroit for $300 bucks. I swapped off the outers from the 8 lug 10b, got some steering arms from Rockstomper and some steering arms from Ballistic (eventually). I had a roller/stopper/driver now.





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Old 08-26-2010, 11:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The CJ-10a also came with a M101a1 trailer bed. It was rusty, and somewhat chopped up, but it had a good tailgate and it gave me a lot of ideas.

I don't know if it is DRMO or regular Army procedure, but all of these trailers seem to be stored with their tongues on the ground. And they do not usually have tops or train holes. So they rust out the front of the trailer. Sometimes it is bad, and sometimes it is OK, but all the ones I have looked at are rusted in the front.

Luckily the wheelbase was set up to have the trailer on backwards anyways, so a plan was born. I searched Steel Soldiers and E-Gay for another M101 trailer, and found one for $100 just 2 hours away. So I loaded up the trailer and went to get it. The guy was more than a little surprised to see a bed already on the trailer, but it was good for some laughs once he got over initial shock.

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Old 08-26-2010, 11:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I somehow convinced a good friend of mine to let me borrow his garage, time and welding wire and started chopping. The military made these out of thick steel, and they are very modular in their construction, so it went pretty quick.



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Old 08-26-2010, 11:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Cool build!
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Old 08-26-2010, 11:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I have put a plug in for him before, but I will do it again. Scott at Rockstomper has some awesome customer service.

I had some sketchy high steer arms on my old knuckles, which I had to replace with something that would clear the H1 rims. Scott has some of the only D44 arms that would clear H1 rims, and they are competitively priced, so I jumped on them. When I went to install them, they did not fit at all. Some calls and PMs to Scott cleared up all the issues, someone had used different tapered washers on the old arms. Scott offered to send me whatever I needed, and I decided to change the whole assembly since I did not know the history on the current stuff.

He had them shipped later that day with no issues. I really appreciate a vendor that knows his product and is prepared to help, and has the parts in stock to ship when you need them.



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Old 08-26-2010, 11:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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So I got the bed done-ish, still needs a bunch or grinding and paint. I slid it on the frame, and I still can not believe how good it looks. It really looks like a "stock" military vehicle to me. I think the lines are right, the proportions are right, and the "feel" is right.

This thing fit so well, it made me want to make a driver of it instead of just another beat on trail rig (besides, I already have one of those)





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Old 08-26-2010, 11:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Then I fucked up. No other way to say it. I was trying to figure out how to load the bed, and tried driving it down the hill behind my house. It worked fine, and would have made loading easier. My CJ-7 crawls right up that hill, but the CJ-10 with no weight over the rear axle and no front driveshaft was not having it.

So I strapped it to the Excursion and pulled. I was going to have my wife in the truck to hit the brakes "just in case", but she was busy, and I needed it done "right now" so I just pulled it up with the truck. Right at the top of the hill the strap failed. It went bounding down the hill, took out a chain link fence, and centerpunched a tree at about 20 MPH. The 1/2 inch thick channel front bumper took it fine, no damage noted. But the motor broke the mounts and took out the radiator, and the bed slid forward and bent the back of the cab.

God looks out for the old and retarded, and I aint old yet. I was wondering what I was going to do now I had wrecked my prize possession in someone else's yard. Luckily the damage to the cab was not that bad at all. I used a high lift, bottle jack and comealong to put the motor back in its rightful spot, then chained it down. The little sucker started right up, besides the obvious radiator leak, and I drove it to where I needed to strap it, bought chain and used my wife to help. This time I got it up with no more drama.

Classic story of saving a couple minutes causes a royal fawk-up.

No pics of the incident, but a gratuitous pic of my old trailer doing the same thing. I am glad I moved.

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Old 08-26-2010, 12:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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A couple of more changes/modifications/tech before I moved:

I needed a fuel tank. One of the POs had made a tray to fit a 15 gallon TJ tank behind the rear axle, but it did not have a drain hole in it, filled up with water, and was a rusty mess. Besides, I wanted more fuel. 15 gallons is not much for a long trip or an exploration.

I wanted an in bed tank, and I wanted one of those fuel tank/bed box combos. Those bastards are expensive, and they were not coming up used in my price range. So I changed my views and went to a Heavy Duty truck wrecking yard to take a look.

They had a 33 gallon low profile tank from an Isuzu or Mitsu mini box truck complete with sender, mounting brackets, and pickup tubes for $200. A little pricey, but much cheaper than a new one, and it is thick, tough and low profile. I have been running it around the yard with no issues, and I really like the look of the little tank.



And in staring at this little bastard after its ghost riding incident, I found a crack in the frame. Not a cute cuddly little crack, but a big old rust forming slightly worried about buckling in two crack.

All you other CJ-10a owners, this is right behind the tranny crossmember where the frame goes from box to channel. It is very big, and looking at the rust, it had been there awhile.



I can only imagine the 2000 lb bed on the back and the 700 lb engine and 300 lb front bumper, plus the torque of low gear, and the stress of pulling heavy things on the runway put a hurtin on the frame after all those years.

If you have a CJ-10a, please check this area of the frame for damage.
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Old 08-26-2010, 12:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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So then it was time to move to Texas, the land of opportunity and dirt cheap diesel trucks. I loaded all the heavy shit the moving company wanted to charge an arm and a leg for in the back of the CJ-10, packed up the trailer and headed westward.

The CJ-10 was a HEAVY bitch with all my tools, jacks, jackstands, and a set of FJ-62 axles for another project on another day. I had lots of problems securing it to the trailer properly, the only thing it wanted to do was rock back and forth. Not only that, it had no shocks, and I did not want 7,000 lbs of CJ pickup rocking back and fourth, so I chained down the frame. It was the most straps I have ever had on a vehicle, but it stayed put for 1500 miles and arrived safely, not much more I could ask for.

The Excursion did excellent as well, nothing like towing with a SUV

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Old 08-26-2010, 12:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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So now I am in Houston and for the first time in my life I actually have a garage I can call my own.

And that is good, because I have a CJ-10 with a worn out motor, questionable drive line, cracked frame, dented and rusted cab, and 10.5 million other little issues.

Just a couple more pics before I tear it down.





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Old 08-26-2010, 01:45 PM   #13 (permalink)
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cool project, i like the bed on it
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:23 PM   #14 (permalink)
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very cool project, my buddy Mike has been putting a lot of time on his YJ+Aqualu rear bed, so definitely like how this is coming along.
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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the bed looks right at home on the rear of that cab.

great project!

i cant wait to see what you come up with next.
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:39 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Were are you at in Houston?

I watched and really liked your other CJ build. Can't wait to see what you come up with on the CJ-10
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Old 08-27-2010, 07:38 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Were are you at in Houston?

I watched and really liked your other CJ build. Can't wait to see what you come up with on the CJ-10
Thank you very much about the other CJ! The FJ-62 axles are for it I want stronger axles (longfields) without having to worry about the center section (bigger Toy 9.25 in the pumpkin). I learned some tricks building the toy axles, and we got them to survive competition with 40 stickies, so I should be able to beat on them as much as I want to

I am in the Meyerland area, feel free to stop by whenever
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:45 AM   #18 (permalink)
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the front of those tugs are ugly.... but with that bed on it makes me want one!

looks awesome! that sucks about the hill incident.
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:38 AM   #19 (permalink)
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the front of those tugs are ugly.... but with that bed on it makes me want one!

looks awesome! that sucks about the hill incident.
Meh, it happens. just goes to show what being in a hurry will do to you. In hindsight, no one got hurt, the damage was pretty minimal, and it was the final nail in the "got to tear it down" coffin, which is turning out to be a good thing, because there was some very questionable stuff going on under the hood!!!

I think they are SOOOOOOOO ugly they are cool! The width of the bed makes the width of the cab fenders a little more proportional, IMO. And the inside/dash is 100% old school CJ, adds even more to the cool factor for me!
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:55 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Sweet build man!
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:32 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Whoops! must have fallen apart when I was not looking!
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:49 PM   #22 (permalink)
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It has the rot. I was very happy with how it looked when I got it, but I never put a magnet on it, never even thought the military knew what bondo was!

Passenger floor has some damage from the floor mat and 26 years of condensation



Drivers floor is a lot worse, a couple of craptastic patches from the Air Force did not help things here. Just some thick steel bolted over the damage, made the floor under the patch even worse





The rust looked like it got suspiciously close to the fantastic looking body side. Time to bring out the grinder. Whoops!





Just a little tech, the CJ-10a has a MASSIVE master cyl. and vacuum booster. This is the pillar off of the firewall that mounts the booster. Everything besides the "normal" CJ rust was actually in great shape on this truck. It is coming apart nicely.

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Old 08-28-2010, 07:40 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I dont know why, but I love watching tug builds. this one is no exception. keep the pics coming!

cant wait to see what you do with the engine setup.

have you considered narrowing the bed to match the width of the cab?
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:46 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I dont know why, but I love watching tug builds. this one is no exception. keep the pics coming!

cant wait to see what you do with the engine setup.

have you considered narrowing the bed to match the width of the cab?
I have been shopping for entire D250-350s with Cummins, Getrag (its just a little CJ, it will be fine over filling it), 205, and dana 60/70. Cant get much better for swapping stuff

I thought about narrowing the bed, but I think the bed is just about the perfect width for what I want to do with this build. It is a little cocked to the side in all the pics, so it is hard to get a good feel for how wide it is, but it is the same width as the "stock" running boards, and the fender flares up front.

The width of the bed just covers the 37s, so no need to worry about flares back there. I also think it looks like a baby Deuce bed, they also had some extra width in the bed. Finally, it will give me a little bit more carrying room, which is one of the big reasons I went this path. I miss my old pickup truck
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:00 PM   #25 (permalink)
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This reminds me of one of those AEM or AVM TJ truck conversions. Very cool!

Have you thought about putting a standard CJ or YJ front sheetmetal on it?

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