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Old 07-16-2009, 04:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Project: 51 CJ3a 10 years overdue.

Just go give a little background. I bought this CJ3a about 10 years ago running for 2,500 bucks. Wheeled it around a couple of times and then took it apart with the intention of boxing in the stock frame and building it up.

Well it sat around for quite a few years, then I sold it to a guy I worked with who never fully paid me for it before going into the Navy. Fast forward 6 more years, out of the service, no Jeep and my buddy kept bugging me about getting another Jeep. So my buddy called him up and got him to give it back; well, whatever was left of it.

The parts I got back from him consisted of all the body parts. CJ radiator, Saginaw steering box and the title which was still in my name.

This is my first project of this magnitude. I use to have a 95' 4 banger YJ that I severely abused with all its stock parts. Basically had 32" tsl ss's, slip yoke kit, 3.5" superlift, 1" body. Detroit in the 35 and lockright in the 30. Nothing special. Main goal is to get back into 4-wheeling at this point, bigger and better build down the road.

So basically the budget build plan goes as follows (around $7,500 total):

New custom 2x4 and 2x3 tube frame
Waggy D44's, (I'd like bigger but I got them cheap to get me going)
5.38 gears, Welded rear diff, Lockright up front.
35" TSL Super Swampers (37's when I wear those out)
Doing SOA on YJ front leafs and Waggy front leafs in the back (already had them)
94" wheel base
Tub I extended 6" in the door area
225 Buick V6 (motor it had when I bought it, planning on a TBI 4.3L v6 afterwards since the 225 is odd fire and can't be injected)
AX15 Transmission (my buddy gave me one and overdrive will be nice since I will drive it to local trails on the freeway)
Dana 300 T-case (Lomax it later on)
Waggy steering box
High steer setup
Wilwood peddles and master cylinders




When I extended the tub I was able to cut out all the rusted sections and replace the entire bottom of the tub which was completely trashed.



I'm waiting till i get the drive train in before I finalize the suspension. So far I'm skeptical about the current leaf springs working decently. I was on Alcon's website a few days ago. I'm pretty sure I'll be needing some longer springs with slightly offset spring perch holes.




I don't want to finalize the steering setup until I get my Passenger side knuckle fitted with the high steer arm.

I have a lot of welding to do on the frame once I get all the mounts tacked on and the motor and drive train installed. I have a friend installing new bearings and syncros into the AX15. Unfortunately he's taking his sweet arse time with it. I should have it back next weekend.
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I really like the length you added in the door.....looks pretty much stock
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Old 07-17-2009, 12:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good looking build so far! Make sure to get your motor and exhaust manifolds hung before you finalize your steering column placement, mine caused me to have to make a tricky/ugly manifold on the drivers side...Just FYI
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Old 07-17-2009, 04:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I wanted to keep it stock looking as much as I could. Adding the 6" stretch was purely to make it more comfortable to drive.

I split the difference in frame widths between a YJ and the stock frame in order to add more exhaust clearance. This worked better for mounting the D44 front anyways. The springs are only slightly out boarded. In a perfect world where money wasn't an issue I would have slapped buggy springs on it.
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The bottom of the tub and the firewall were severely butchered by previous owners. They did a helluva hack job and tried fixing it by braising and pigeon shit welding stuff. So I pretty much had to cut out nearly everything and weld new in.


Welded up new gussets for the firewall. As you can see the old one is trashed.

I've just about gotten done with cleaning the motor up. I'm planning on getting the motor, transmission and t-case set in place this weekend. Then I can finish the channel on the tub and close up the firewall.

Using this Buick 225 for now.
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Old 08-02-2009, 04:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I really like the Wilwood break and clutch peddles with triple master cylinders. I called Wilwood and they were extremely helpful in making sure I had all the right parts. Of course I needed stuff I didn't even know about. It turned out to be cake to install. I just need break lines and that part will be finished.

I also picked up a Cherokee steering column and a YJ steering shaft. I removed the old rag joint off the waggy box and the shaft fit on perfect. I didn't even need to adjust the length of the shaft.




I started by cutting the old butchered firewall and use the cut out piece as a template for the new one.




The firewall looks 100% better than it did before on that side.

My buddy and I are almost finished cleaning up the 225 v6. I'll post up some pics of the motor tomorrow probably. I had an aluminum manifold laying around that we used. I really wanted to get rid of the 1 barrel carb that the motor had on it so we are gonna try and use a small Holley 4 barrel and jet it down since my buddy had that laying around. Still trying to stay low cost on this motor since it can't be fuel injected and use what we have already. I'll be getting a 231 or 4.3L next summer most likely.

I'm hoping to get started on the drive train tomorrow but if not definately within 2 weeks. I already have all the Advance Adapter parts needed. I had the flywheel turned and the clutch rebuilt. Lets hope the starter still works after 6 years of sitting around getting dirty. I'm picking the AX15 up tomorrow; I had a friend install new syncros and bearings in it.

The bellhousing adapter and Dana 300 t-case adapter.

Last edited by stieg000; 08-02-2009 at 04:07 AM.
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Old 08-02-2009, 09:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stieg000 View Post
225 Buick V6 (motor it had when I bought it, planning on a TBI 4.3L v6 afterwards since the 225 is odd fire and can't be injected)
Ex cuse me, I could be wrong, but I don't think the odd-fire matters if you
use a GM throttle body injection setup.
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Old 08-02-2009, 09:34 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Ex cuse me, I could be wrong, but I don't think the odd-fire matters if you
use a GM throttle body injection setup.
Yes it does.As far as I know there was one company had look into injecting these.The odd firing order is what screws it.The TBI won't fire in the correct order.I have looked into this for my 70 Jeepster that has the odd fire 225.
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Old 08-02-2009, 09:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Someone on these forums said he got the oddfire motor to work but it was through a crank positioning sensor he jerry rigged to work. Doesn't really matter at this point; I'm probably going to want more power to turn bigger tires, especially if I plan on driving on the freeway to local trails.

Here's the before and after of the motor.



Hopefully it runs like a champ. It did sit around for a long time in the weather at times. It's amazing what a little bead blasting and pain does for a motor. Now I need to go junk yard hopping to find the alternator and power steering pump brackets.

Last edited by stieg000; 08-02-2009 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 08-02-2009, 09:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Damn, love the work so far. Absolutely awesome. Really cleaned that buick up nice, keep us posted man, probably see you driving in FJ sometime.
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:27 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I made some more progress this week.
The rear corners were rusted and cracked so I cut them out and welded in some new sheet metal. I had to do this before mounting my cage plate on it.



I removed the left side of the firewall and welded in a new piece to close up the holes where the heater core was at. It's Arizona.... Who needs a heater?


The cage is still a work in progress. I kind of make it up as I go since this is my first experience with bending tube. I should have more of it done tomorrow. Most of what is left doesn't require any bending.

I'm starting the motor and transmission installation tomorrow. I want to have it all in by Saturday night. I have some motor mounts started and the radiator hoop I made out of 1 1/2" tube is almost done.
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:44 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I know you'll want more power but for the meantime you might look into rigging up a propane setup instead of EFI. Something off a forklift would prolly work for that engine.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:00 PM   #13 (permalink)
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By the time it's ready to 4wheel I will only have to wait another 4 to 5 months before I have enough cash to go to a different motor that I can TBI. As much as I don't want a standard carbureted motor I'll just suck it up for the time being. I'm a little ways off, I need another 1500 or so until it's drivable and another 1500 to make it 4wheelable. I might have looked into that if I didn't feel like swapping the motor down the road. Thx though.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:12 PM   #14 (permalink)
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just put a buick 455 in it with tbi and be done with it, they are cheap ans easy to find
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:41 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I'd like to toss in a v8 but then I'd have to do a D60 and 14B which I have no funds for. I never go to the dunes and there's not much mud in AZ so it really doesn't effect what I like to do. Who knows what it'll have in the years to come; I'm only on the first round of modifications. But it's safe to say I'll probably drop in a 4.3L. I know a guy with a complete EFI 4.3L with the computer and harness in his garage but I'm not sure what it will take to make him part with it.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:20 PM   #16 (permalink)
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So here's the latest on my build. I buttoned up the rest of the firewall and floorboards.





I had a tube bender on loan, so before I gave it back I bent up my stinger bumper. I also did front shock hoops from 1 1/4" but haven't welded them in yet.

My buddy bought an Astro Van with a 4.3L V6 for 200 bucks to salvage the GM throttle body, sensors, harness and computer to fit onto his 4.2L straight 6 in his Wrangler. We had the 4.3L leftover. So I decided to use that motor and pull the TBI injection parts off another Van at the junkyard. I got all the parts for the TBI, clutch disk, pressure plate and a flywheel for 85$.

It actually worked out for the better. Wildwilly had mentioned his steering shaft clearance problem and that's what I ended up with after installing the Buick 225. The 4.3L is about 1 7/8" narrower head to head. No other modification will be needed now. This is a pic of the Buick 225 in it before the swap.

I just ordered the 16 gallon fuel cell from Jegs. Tomorrow I'm picking up the painless 12 circuit fuse block and an in-line fuel pump. My buddy and I have already started cutting out what we don't need from the Astro Van Wiring Harness. I'll mainly be working on the dash and engine wiring next weekend.

I need one more trip to the junkyard for some GM style connectors for relays, an alternator and tensioner pulley bracket. After that, some radiator work; the inlet and outlet don't match the motor so I have to do some magic to it with a saw and some solder.

I should have this pig running within 2 weeks. Too bad I won't be able to drive it yet. I have yet to shore up the break lines, steering and I still don't have drivelines.

Last edited by stieg000; 01-20-2010 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:02 AM   #17 (permalink)
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it would of been a hell lot cheap to buy a brand new rubicon.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:33 AM   #18 (permalink)
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sweet build, great work with the sheetmetal, floor, firewall, etc!

and I like the cage design. you sure you never did this before?
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:54 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Looks like a fun rig! ?Your doing a clean job with all of the mods.
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:02 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I know the feeling of a rig taking a while...im 37 and still waiting for me and my dad to build that m38 he has that he bought when I was 13 and said I could have for my 16th...

Your build is super clean and coming along real nice.
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:27 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Thanks for the encouragement guys. Once I get the motor and tranny mounted up permanent, I'm going to finalize all the frame work, weld in gussets and plating.

Brownbagg... I dunno how you could say a Rubicon would be much cheaper. considering my initial build is only 8k. Of course I haven't dropped one dime on labor and am not planning too. A lot of stuff I could have bought but I chose to fabricate it myself . Besides that I wont be crying if I roll it over and am still making payments on it.
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:57 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Nice build! Building an MB myself man, down in the south-east valley. Get this sucker done and we'll have to have a willys run!

Keep up the good work!
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Old 01-23-2010, 08:38 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Right on. My buddy has a Wrangler we've been working on also. When I'm done you can bet on me heading out to Florence Junction area.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:07 AM   #24 (permalink)
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So I modified the 225 motor mounts to work for the 4.3L but they sucked so bad I cut them out and started over.

And the entire drive train bolted up. I don't like the skid plate at all. I told my buddy I wanted to tear it out and tube one up but he talked sense into me and told me just to roll with it like that till it's running.

I'm working on getting the tub ready to paint. There was so much body filler in the entire Jeep I had to take it down to bare metal. I welded up most of the holes that they had filled be cause It was crappy and I didn't want it cracking out after it's painted.
Here's the start of my gauge panel. I have a set of Autometer gauges I bought off a guy for a smoking deal.



I still need a water temp gauge the guy I bought them from didn't have it anymore, but it was still a good deal.
I still have to buy the switches, LED indicators and headlamp switch. I have all the wiring for the 4.3L. I'm working on getting the tub and cage finished so I can start wiring it up.
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:54 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Very nice build. very clean work.
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