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Old 03-21-2019, 05:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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78 CJ5 Project Quick Fix

Since my quick winter fix-up project has now entered its 5th year I think it might be worth sharing some of the build.

After years of always wanting a Jeep I found a 78 CJ5 on the social media marketplace just 15 minutes away. After checking it out and having no idea what I was looking at, I (over)paid for it and drug it home. It ran and drove and had been on the road in the last year. There was all the what I now know to be typical rot in the frame in the rear on both sides, rear frame horns and spring hangers. I decided that had to be fixed and commenced to stripping the Jeep down.

Pictures:



Last edited by MountaineerCJ5; 03-21-2019 at 06:14 AM.
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Old 03-21-2019, 06:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think I figured out the pictures thing. Here are more teardown pics:








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Old 03-21-2019, 06:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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After the first of many, many deliveries by brown Santa, I had all the frame repair pieces. It took quite a while to get them all put on the way it suited me, but eventually everything started coming together to make the frame more solid.








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Old 03-21-2019, 06:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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At this point the plan was still to fix the old girl up and put it back on the road ASAP, so I started fixing up a few shady things a PO had done and fixing up a few things on the engine. Experimented with some wild paint colors just to shake things up.

Also around this time I came across a body in much better shape. It even had the rest of the Jeep attached to it. Made the trip to pick up this abandoned project and found out someone had made a great start. 304 V8 backed by a T18 (which I later discovered is the desirable one with the granny first gear), D20 transfer case, Dana 44 rear end, brand new set of 35s. Guy I got it from was unloading all of his Jeep stuff so we drove around to all the buildings on his property and he threw in everything he had. It would take me days to go through all the stuff he loaded into my trailer. I felt as if I hit the jackpot.






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Old 03-21-2019, 06:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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At the time I didn't know building a frame was even an option. I was brand new to everything Jeep.

I'm going to post up all the pictures but it has completely spiraled out of control. It currently has a 4 inch lift, 5.3 LS swap, SM465 Trans, Ford 9inch rear with HP Dana 44 front, locked front and rear with 4.56s and disc brakes all around.
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Old 03-21-2019, 06:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This is around the time things started spiraling completely past where I thought I wanted to go with it. Came across a 5.3L LS motor and started researching swaps. Did the F-Body pan swap with the trap door baffles from Improved Racing, got a set of direct coil mount valve covers and painted the block. I found a SM465 tranny in the pile of stuff I got with the donor Jeep. I had a guy trade me 2 Ford 9inch rears and a HP Dana 44 front for the set of 35s off the donor Jeep.






Last edited by MountaineerCJ5; 03-21-2019 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 03-21-2019, 07:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I was doing research like a mad-man at this point and decided that the shortest drivetrain package I could put together with what I had was the SM465 mated to a D20. I ordered up the Advance Adapters kit and completely rebuilt the SM465 with the upgraded gearing and bushings to prevent it from popping out of gear.




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Old 03-21-2019, 07:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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By this time I had done a ton of more work on the frame and picked up a 4 inch rough country lift. Picked up the motor mounts from Novak, rebuilt the transfer case, and started mocking things into place.





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Old 03-21-2019, 07:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I built a rough crossmember that I am still not completely happy with, but it is working for now. Picked up the Novak hydraulic clutch kit. Got a new extended gas tank.




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Old 03-21-2019, 07:30 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I got all the stuff to narrow the rear end myself and set to work measuring and cutting. Picked up a set of Torino bearing cups and burned those on. I used a set of bolt on caliper brackets and El Dorado Calipers to convert the rear to disc brakes. Ordered a custom set of Dutchman axles and everything fell into place.








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Old 03-21-2019, 07:38 AM   #11 (permalink)
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For the front end I had the HP Dana 44 from the 78 Bronco that I traded the tires for. The obvious issue is it is driver side drop and I need passenger side drop. So I did what any reasonable person would do and found a junked 10 bolt and cut the long side tube out of the housing. I drilled the plug welds on the Dana and pushed the tube out with a porta-power. I then pressed the long tube from the 10 bolt into the Dana and welded the plugs back up. Super easy. (NOT).

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Old 03-21-2019, 07:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Now I had a HP Dana 44 with long tubes on both sides that I can cut to the length I need. I cut the inner Cs from the 10 bolt with the Dana had the cast wedges and measured, measured, measured until I was satisfied and made the cuts. Then I test fit for new perches, set the angles, pounded on the Cs and welded it back up. Presto-change-o passenger side drop HP Dana 44. Picked up an Eaton Detroit locker and a set of 4.56 gears and commenced to setting it up.






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Old 03-21-2019, 07:53 AM   #13 (permalink)
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One of the 9inches I got in trade had a locker in it so it re-geared it to 4.56, new bearings, and put it in my narrowed housing. Also around this time I had picked up a radiator, made brackets to make it work, ran fuel lines, picked up a set of 35 inch Deegan 38s on steel wheels, and started running Ni-Cop brake lines.




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Old 03-21-2019, 07:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Got a set of custom length front shafts from Dutchman, cleaned up all the Ford brake pieces, added new ball joints, rotors, calipers, and a new set of Warn Premium hubs.






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Old 03-21-2019, 08:01 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I ordered the 1 ton Y-link steering kit from Ruff-Stuff and set to making links. Had a tough time finding a pitman arm that would work and ended up getting the kit that moves the steering box forward to make it work.






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Old 03-21-2019, 08:09 AM   #16 (permalink)
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With the steering mostly sorted and roller status achieved, the Jeep rolled out of the garage for the first time in 4 years. I recruited the help of some co-workers and sat the tub on the frame to see how much cutting would be required to make everything jive. I did a lot of test fitting with the grill and radiator so I know about where everything needed to go. After squaring the tub up to the frame it sat high in the rear due to frame interference.
After pulling it back off and a weekend of cutting and welding it is sitting much better.










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Old 03-21-2019, 08:12 AM   #17 (permalink)
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That takes it up to current day other than running some exhaust which I don't have pictures of yet. I have a ton of other pictures and left out a lot of details but I wanted to get it up now that it is finally coming together.

I am contemplating pulling a leaf from the spring packs since it sits higher than I would like it to.
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Old 03-21-2019, 11:46 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Looks great, I like it!!
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Old 03-22-2019, 06:49 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I'd drive the thing around for a while before pulling a leaf from each pack. They settle pretty far. I've had some settle over an inch before.

I dig where you've gone with this. My CJ5 is getting pulled into the shop soon but where your body is straight but the frame is junk, my frame is rock solid and the body is held together with bondo and a freaking dream.
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Old 03-22-2019, 10:36 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitneyj View Post
...the body is held together with bondo and a freaking dream.

That is the truest statement I've read all day.
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